tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN June 29, 2011 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT
hood. this is the first strategy that focuses on the ability of al- qaeda and its network to inspire people in the united states to attack us from within. this is the for strategy that designates the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counter-terrorism efforts. our strategy is shaped by a deeper understanding of goals, strategies, and tactics that we have gained. i am not talking about al- qaeda's grandiose vision of global domination. that vision is an absurd and we are not going to organize our policies against a delusion that is never going to happen. we are not going to elevate these thugs in their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are. the president obama is determined that our security policies not play into al-qaeda 's strategy or ideology.
al-qaeda seeks to terrorize us to retreat from the global stage. al-qaeda 6 to portray america as an enemy of the world's muslims, but president obama has made it clear that the united states will not be at war with islamabad. al-qaeda seeks to lead us financially. -- seeks to bleed us financially. going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, are best offense will not always be deploying large armies of broad, bar rather delivering targeted pressure to the groups that threaten us. al-qaeda seeks to portray itself as a religious movement defending the rights of muslims,
but the united states will continue to expose al-qaeda as nothing more than murderers. and they are neither religious leaders nor scholars. there is nothing islamic or holy about slaughtering innocent men, women and children. the vast majority of their victims are innocent muslim men, women, and children, and it is no wonder that the overwhelming majority of the world's moslems have rejected al-qaeda. just as our strategy is precise about to our enemy is, it is clear about our posture as well as our goal. this is a broad, sustained and a relentless campaign that harnesses every element of america's power. we seek nothing less of the utter destruction of this evil. to achieve this goal, we need to dismantle the core of al-qaeda
in pakistan and prevent its ability to reestablish a safe haven in the region. in other words, we aim to render the heart of the al-qaeda incapable of launching attacks against our homeland and the citizens, or allies. at the same time, ultimately defeating al-qaeda means of addressing the threats posed by its affiliates operating outside of south asia. this does not require a global war but it does require a focus on specific regions including what we might call the periphery. this is another important distinction that characterizes this strategy. it has core weakens, looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause including its goal of striking united states. to destroy al-qaeda, we are
pursuing focused objectives. for example, we are protecting our homeland by reducing our vulnerability and updating our defenses. we are taking the fight to wherever the cancer of al-qaeda manifest itself, disrupting its operations. we are to gritting their leadership to direct the operations of its adherents around the world. we are denying them any safe- haven, the physical sanctuary that it needs to launch attacks against us. we are confronting their ideology which attempts to exploit local and often legitimate grievances to justify its violence. we are depriving al-qaeda of its enabling means including financing, support, and on-line communications that sustain its network. we are working to prevent al- qaeda from acquiring weapons of
mass destruction which is what the president is leading the effort to secure the world's vulnerable materials in four years. in many respects, these goals are not new. in fact, they track closely with the goals of the previous administration. this illustrates an important characteristic. it need to represent a wholesale overhaul, nor a wholesale retention of previous policies. the president's approach is a pragmatic, not ideological, and is based on what works. it built upon policies and practices that had been instituted into refined over the past decade in partnership with congress. it reflects an evolution in our understanding of the threats and the capabilities of our government, our partners, and the tools and technologies at our disposal. what is new are the principles
that are guiding our efforts to destroy al-qaeda. we are using every lawful cool and authority available. no single agency or department has sole responsibility because no single department or agency possesses all the capabilities needed for this fight. this must be a whole of government effort which is why the administration has strengthened the tools and that we need it. we have expanded intelligence and linguistic skills, and we are learning from our experiences. for example, following the attack in fort hood, we have improved the analytic process and enhance cooperation among our intelligence agencies, including better information sharing so that all threats are acted upon quickly. we strengthened our military capabilities, increased the size of our special forces, sped up the deployment of our assets,
and in sure that our military professionals are working more closely than ever before. with the strength and homeland security with a multi-layered defense -- we have strengthened homeland security with a multi- layered defense. including sharing more information, increasing capacity, and preparing for bioterrorism. we are finally filling key recommendations of the 9/11 commission. london the lessons of recent plots, we have increased security by strengthening our procedures and sharing information in real time. enhancing screening of cargo in for the first time insuring 100% screening of all passengers traveling in, to come in from the united states which was another recommendation of the 9/11 commission. we are assessing and improving our defenses.
in addition, we are using the full range of law enforcement tools as a part of our effort to build an effective and durable legal framework for the war against al-qaeda including our single most effective tool for prosecuting, convicting, in the sentencing -- and sentencing terrorists. it also includes a reformed military commissions which at times offered unique advantages. this from work includes the recently renewed patriot act. we must have a legal framework that provides our intelligence, and law-enforcement professionals with all the tools they need to do their job and keep our country safe. we must not and will not tie their hands. for all of these tools to work properly, departments and agencies must work
cooperatively. today, our personnel are working closer together than ever before. the success of killing osama bin laden was not due to one single person or a piece of information. it was the result of many people working together closely over many years, and that is what we will continue to do. we are guided by a second principle -- the need for partnership with institutions and countries are around the world as we recognize onthat no one nation alone can bring about al-qaeda's demise. this includes greater cooperation with multilateral institutions such as the united nations, allies, and regional organizations. over the past 2.5 years, we have increased our efforts to build the capacity of partner so they
can take the fight to al-qaeda in their own countries. that is why a key element of the strategy in afghanistan is growing african security forces. it is why we will begin a transition so afghans can take responsibility for their own security and why we must continue our cooperation with pakistan. in recent weeks, we have been reminded that our relationship with pakistan is not without frustration. we are working with our pakistani partners to continue our efforts against our common enemies. it is essential that we do so. pakistan has been absolutely critical in many of our most significant successes against al-qaeda. tens of thousands of pakistanis have given their lives in the fight against militancy. i am confident that pakistan remains one of our most important counterterrorism
partners. these kinds of security partnerships are absolutely vital. the intelligent that allowed us to discover the explosives being shipped to the united states was provided by our saudi arabian partners. al-qaeda and iraq has suffered major losses at the hands of forces trained by the united states. our counter-terrorism cooperation with yemen continues. the recent gains only make our ct partnership with yemen more important. around the world, we will deepen our cooperation with partners wherever al-qaeda i tends to take root. al-qaeda it depicts this fight as one that is between the world, the united states, and muslims. it is the opposite. we are united against al-qaeda. this leads to the third
principle. rather than pursuing a one size fits all approach, the different threats in different places command different tools. even as we use all the resources at our disposal, which will apply the right tools in the right way and in the right place with laser focus. in some places such as the tribal regions, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-qaeda. whenever possible, our efforts around the world will be in close coordination with our partners and when necessary if we have information about the whereabouts of al-qaeda will do what is required to protect the united states as we did with osama bin laden. in some places as i have described, our efforts will focus on training security forces. in others, our focus will include shutting down al-qaeda's financial pipelines while our
partners support attacks. here in the united states, where the rule of law is paramount, it is our federal, state, and local professionals who are rightly take the lead. and around the world, we will continue to show the united states offers a vision of progress and justice, while al- qaeda offers nothing. related to our strategy, keeping our nation secure also depends on strong partnerships between governments and communities here at home including muslim and arab americans, some of whom joined us here today. these americans have worked to protect their communities and help to prevent terrorist attacks in our country. the obama administration will unveil its approach for partnering with communities to prevent extremism in the united states. the key tenant of this approach
is when it comes to protecting our country, muslim americans are not part of the problem. they are a part of the solution. building a culture of resilience here at home. we are doing everything in our power to prevent another terrorist attack on our soil irresponsible strategy recognizes that no nation no matter how powerful, including a free and open society of 300 million americans, can prevent every single threat from every single individual. it is not enough to simply be prepared for the attacks. we have to be brazilian and recover quickly. so as a brazilian nation, we are improving our ability to do so as a brazilian nation, we are improving our ability -- as a resilient nation, we are
strengthening the partnerships to ensure all localities are recover quickly. we must remember that everyone of us -- the al-qaeda ones to terrorize us, so we must not given to fear. they want to change us, so we must stay true to who we are that brings me to our fourth principle. we will uphold the core values that define us as americans. i have spent 30 years working on our nation's security and i understand the capabilities of our counter-terrorism communities and i know the most powerful weapon of all which we must never forsake are the values and ideals that america represents to the world. conversely, when we all pull these values, it sends a message to the people around the world
that is america that represent opportunity, dignity, and justice. in other words, all living our values helps to keep us safe. we stand for human rights. that is why president obama made it clear that the united states of america is not for torture. as americans, we will uphold the rule of law at home inkling the privacy, so rights and liberties of all americans. it is because of our commitment to the rule of law that we will never waver in our conviction that the united states will never be more secure until the guantanamo bay is closed. communicating to the world what america represents directly undermines al-qaeda's twisted ideology. when we remember that diversity is not a weakness, but a strength, and we show that muslim americans are a part of
our family, we expose their implied that cultures must clashed. we show that america could never possibly be at war with islamabad. these are our core principles. this -- be at war with islam. with our allies and partners, we have afforded attacks from around the world and have disrupted plots here at home. we have affected their ability to attract new recruits, made it harder for them to hide and transfer money, and have pushed to their finances to their weakest point in years. along with their partners, we have shown al-qaeda that they will enjoy a new safe-haven. we have made it harder for them to plot. al-qaeda's leadership ranks have been decimated with more leaders
eliminated in rapid succession than any other time since 9/11. their third ranking member has been killed. one of the most dangerous commanders, reportedly killed. operatives of aqap in yemen, all killed. the leader of the pakistani taliban, killed. the leader of al-qaeda in east africa and the mastermind of the bombing of embassies in africa, killed over the past 2.5 years, virtually every major al-qaeda @ phillie it has lost its key leader or commander, and more than half of its leadership has been eliminated. yes, al-qaeda is adaptive and resilience, but it has been forced to do so with less experienced individuals. that is what we have stepped up our partners. if we hit them hard enough,
there will come a time when they can no longer replenish their ranks with skilled leaders. that is the direction in which we are headed today. now with the death of osama bin laden, we have struck our biggest blow against al-qaeda yet. perhaps most significantly, al- qaeda's symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence. in his place, the organization is left with an aging doctor who lacks osama bin laden's charisma and the respect of many. the fact that it took so many weeks for them to settle on him suggests the disarray at the highest levels. taken together, the progress allows us for the first time to envision the demise of their core leadership in the coming years. make no mistake.
al-qaeda is in its decline. this is by no means to suggest that serious threats have passed. he may attempt to demonstrate his leadership, and al-qaeda may try to show its relevance with new attacks. individuals may seek to avenge osama bin laden's death. it does not mean the destruction of the al-qaeda network. inp remains the most activel the network. sl shabad continues to call for strikes against the united states. we will not let our guard down. we will remain vigilant here at home. still, as we approached the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as we seek to understand where we are, we need
to look no further of the compound where osama bin laden spent his final days. he was there for years, isolated from the world. but even he understood the sorry state of his organization and its ideology. information's seized from the compound reveals his concerns about long-term viability, calling for more large-scale attacks against americans but encountered resistance from his followers. he went with years without seeing any spectacular attacks. he saw his senior leaders being taken down one by one. perhaps most importantly, osama bin laden said al-qaeda is losing the battle for hearts and minds. the murdering of innocent civilians untarnished al-qaeda's image in the world. he knew that he failed to
portray america as being at war with islam and worried a recent focus had prevented more muslims from rallying to his cause so much so that he continue changing its name. we are left with a final image seen around the world. an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos. this fight is not over. guided by the strategy we are releasing today, we will never waver in our efforts to protect the american people. we will be precise about our enemy and use every tool at our disposal and apply them wisely. we will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home. we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world to help keep
us safe. president obama said we have put al-qaeda on a path to defeat and we will not relent until the job is done. i want to thank sais, dean einhorn, john mclaughlin, to allow me to unveil this strategy for counter-terrorism here today. i think you very much. [applause] >> since i know the media has frequent access to him, i am going to give priority for questions to our students, faculty, and invited guests. there is a microphone here that will come to you as you raise your hand when i recognize you. please state your name and give your question.
please confine it to one question. right here. >> good afternoon and thick for coming. i am a student at george mason university. i have a question about the terrorist detainee's. he said that the president wants to close at guantanamo bay. has there been a decision yet about those that are held there? >> congress has expressed concerns about the closure of guantanamo bay facility. we have released a number of individuals from guantanamo since president obama has been inaugurated, transferring many overseas to their countries of origin or to third countries.
there are a number of individuals moving into the prosecution path, notably the co-conspirators of 9/11. so, there is a population in guantanamo now, some of which will be prosecuted, and some who will possibly be transferred abroad. so, what the president said it is he wants to close guantanamo responsibly and in a way that does not threaten american security. this is something we will continue to work with the congress about. this is something that is still very much a policy of this administration, but we are not going to do it in a manner that jeopardize our security or does not take into account the very unique circumstances of those cases. >> yes?
>> you had mentioned al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula, the single most dangerous location of al-qaeda. yemen looks to be heading toward chaos. can you give us more detail on how you see us proceeding moving forward dealing with yemen to try to get them more effective in fighting al-qaeda? >> thanks, bruce. all the elements present a serious threat. the peninsula is the most active. it gives us concern that they have been able to use yemen as a training area to launch these attacks against us. there is a fair amount of political turmoil right now in yemen. our position from a political
standpoint is the gcc initiative is the best path forward to resolve yemen possess a crisis. we have worked with them over the past several years, building up their counter-terrorism capabilities. just like in pakistan where thousands of pakistanis have fallen prey to terrorist attacks, yen and security officers have died as a result of those attacks. there are many elements in yemen right now that are opposed to al-qaeda expanding its capability as well as its control of the territory. yemen is a patchwork of various tribes and political groupings, political power centers. we are working very closely with a number of counter-terrorism elements. one thing we have insisted on is the support that we provide only be used against al-qaeda and not
be used in any way shape or form against yemenis citizens who are protesting as they have a right to peacefully. we have been very vigilant making sure none of these yemenis that we have trained are being used against them. at the counter terrorism cooperation needs to continue to grow. there are limitations based on force capabilities. president obama has committed to yemen that we will be strong partners. of the potential threat to the homeland here that comes from aqap is a real and serious. this is something that we will need to continue to work on. at the framework that we are working on is to build up their security and provide them with the intelligence that they need and to partner with them when it is something that we believe that it is something that we can
do to be done to protect our interests. it is going to be a long haul though. >> the student right there in the middle. yes. >> a good afternoon, sir, and think you for visiting. the recent killing of osama bin laden has led many to speculate about the relationship between al-qaeda and the pakistani government. could you comment on that speculation? >> to my knowledge, the pakistani leadership, military, political, intelligence, was caught totally unawares by the fact that osama bin laden was found close to its military academy and not too far from the nation's capital. they are trying to figure out why in fact he was able to be there for six years. at that is not to say that there
are some elements within the pakistani establishment that where knowledgeable. looking at that situation, osama bin laden and the people at that compound practiced absolutely phenomenal -- he was there for six years. it to our knowledge, he never left that compound. the people at the compound -- most of them never left either. there were a couple of folks that provided the type of support that he needed. so this is something -- i do not know how many people in al-qaeda and the senior leadership ranks knew where he was, but he was someone who knew if he'd let it be known his whereabouts, his days were going to be numbered. i think he became relaxed in the area. he was totally taken by surprise when our navy seals
confronted him that night. i have not seen anything. this was one of the big questions that we raised red away with the pakistani government. they try to figure out the same thing. but, pakistan is a large country. it is one of their lessons learned right now in terms of what they need to do to make sure they are aware of what is happening. and there have been individuals in the past from al-qaeda data used the area as a transit point. >> in the fort road. >>-- in the front row. >> brad just ask the first question that i had in mind. clearly, one of our preferred tools for dealing with al-qaeda and its militants is targeted
killing. it strikes me how much we rely on that to include targeting some people who are american citizens. it is that problematic in the long run? not from a legal point of view, but from a reputation appointive you for what it may bring back to us from the way that we imagine ourselves? >> without speaking to any particular operational activities or abilities, let me address the question this way. first of all, from the standpoint of american citizens, you know, when are brave the u.s. military forces in afghanistan and iraq are fighting and they see it is the taliban or aqi in iraq or others coming at them, they do not
first check to see if they are u.s. citizens. there have been folks that have been fighting in these areas that are u.s. citizens or whatever. these people have made a decision to join the enemy to fight against the united states of america. it just like we are doing in places like iraq and afghanistan, we are protecting our interests. we did not pick this fight. one of the things that president obama has been consistent on is we are exceptionally precise and surgical in terms of addressing the terrorist threat. by then, i mean if there are terrorists within an area where there are women and children and others, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women, and children in danger. at the types of operations that
the u.s. has been involved in for the past year -- there has not been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we have been able to develop. we try to make sure that we only use this type of capability in force against those individuals who are presenting a threat to us. if they happen to the afghan citizens or citizens of other countries including of our own, what we cannot do is allow them to hide behind their citizenship and passports. there are certain requirements under law in terms of whether we know somebody it is a citizen there are certain things that we need to be able to do appropriate and consistent with our legal framework. but the president wants to make sure that we are following the letter of the law in these cases. >> yes, right here in the second
row please. >> hi, my name is tiffany star, and we appreciated your speech today. what do you think the community has learned in the last 10 years? what we doing with that learning experience? >> the intelligence community? >> yes. >> well, we were talking right before about where we were during 9/11 and what the environment was like. we were on the floor of the cia headquarters. when we got hit with those plans, we were still at this stage of trying to figure out how serious the threat from al- qaeda was. there were so many reports about some many different operatives, cells, plots, plans, what ever.
we knew that they were pursuing by terrorism and nuclear materials. and so, i think one of the things that we have learned most since 9/11 is we have a much better handle on al-qaeda as an organization. our ability to prosecute over the last decade our efforts against al-qaeda is because of the work that has been done quite intelligence professionals, homeland security professionals, and the military. every day, we see that american lives have been lost because of our efforts to learn more about them. the seven cia men that were killed last year -- these are brave men and women who leave their families behind so they can gain more information and insight into where al-qaeda is so we can direct our efforts against them. because of the 10th anniversary
of 9/11, it is a testament to the tremendous work that the intelligence community and others have done, bringing together not just the intelligence but also marion it with the capabilities that we have been able to develop. so, i think the lessons are we know more about the nature of the threat. one of the things that we have learned is that this has to be a whole of government oeffort. the efforts i have seen it involves the integration of effort of resources, capabilities, and expertise among various agencies. i refer to a continuum of engagement. you could have coronation and integration. for many years, and the government was trying to de- fonclit. -- de-conflict.
more and more, we see at the u.s. military, cia, homeland security are working on these issues. whether it be in the trenches in afghanistan or iraq, it is been a tremendous evolution in our approach. and that integration is something that we need to continue to do. i am a strong believer in a lot of the departments and agencies that were set up in the 19th and 20th centuries that were designed for those problems. we need to be able to make sure we can leverage all of the capabilities in a concerted fashion. >> i am looking for a student here. you do not have to be a student. [laughter] right here in the second row . >> thank you.
you mentioned iran as a sponsor of state terrorism. i was wondering what you thought about our interests were in the and what it means for our national security. >> iran is doing the same. they have cleared vulnerability is at home. they are trying to exploit some of the instabilities that are taking place in certain countries as a way to increase their contacts, relationships, and equities. they are trying to operate in different countries by establishing relationships with the groups that were made be out of favor six months ago and now are coming into favor. what they are trying to do is see what they can do to give us a black eye in certain areas. we are engaged in this tug-of-
war with iran over its obligations on the nuclear front that it continues to leave up to its obligations. they have been affected significantly by sanctions that we have taken. it is no secret that iran is trying to undermine our interests which is to promote the development of democratic movement and making sure the people in these different countries are able to revise their aspirations. from my perspective, we need to be mindful that iran has a certain agenda. it is certain and the roads and populations detrick to operate within those communities. iran, i think, has not yet experienced its spring. hopefully, i think the people of iran will be able to realize a democratic government one of these days they can fulfill
their aspirations as well. >> in the front row. >> in helping the libyan opposition, to what extent are we helping bob al-qaeda affiliate its groups and minimize their risk? >> we have been very cognizant of the fact that there have been portions within libya that have served as a base for a number of extremist organizations. one of them was one of the founding elements of the al- qaeda. we are concerned about the disarray and turmoil in libya as far as weapons stockpiles that of come under a siege by various groups. i think the u.s. position as well as the position of our nato allies is that we are going to work deliberately with the
opposition elements that have developed in the east as well as in the west. we are mindful that al-qaeda and other extremist organizations are trying to exploit the situation which is why we are being measured in how we deal with the evolving situation inside of libya. i have been out to nigeria and other countries in the region to talk to them about the threat of al-qaeda and what we need to do to get their. so we are preparing with nations in the area and working with them to try to provide the intelligence to them that they need to identify aqap elements that are on the rise in the area. >> in the second row here. >> thank you. you have mentioned the whole of government approached several times, and wonder if you could describe to us the relationship
between defense, development, and diplomacy communities in counter-terrorism. >> defense, development, and diplomacy all come together when you look at two particular countries -- yemen and somalia. i preside over interagency groups that look at those two countries because of the counter-terrorism challenges, but i also recognize our ability to make progress on that front is dependent upon these countries being able to deal with some of their very, very serious problems. when you look at yemen with its waters resources being depleted -- i think it has the fourth highest population growth in the world. unemployment is probably at 40% or 50%. so what we are doing when we get together is look at what we need to do on the counter terrorism front and what we are doing in terms of diplomatic
engagement as far as how to try to address the issues right now that are at stake in yemen, but also look at what type of assistance we can provide to the yemenis. we have a number of programs on the humanitarian front and the economic front. one of the challenges that we have now and one of the debates that is ongoing is in light of instability, should we stop a lot of this assistance is going to them because it could get into the wrong hands? to me, i think it is important -- the president now is in saudi arabia, and we have been criticized of only being interested in because of the counter-terrorism. we are interested in yemen because the people of yemen have been affected by the many, many problems that they face. we want to work with them. this is the time now to make sure we do not abandon the
yemeni people when their government is under siege. this is a time when we need to do things in a careful and measured way, but we need to make sure we bring together the diplomacy, assistance, and counter-terrorism efforts. in somalia, working with the transitional government and securing the area around mogadishu, and looking at all the refugees, the people who are malnourished and starved, we need to find a way that the non-governmental organizations are able to bring supplies even though a lot of the roads and networks are caught off. we want to make sure that these ngo's have the licensing approval so they can operate. many different countries -- those three really come together in a very, very meaningful way. i have said that i do not want the counter-terrorism tial tailo
wag the dog. we should not be doing things solely because we have a counter-terrorism agenda there. the president is very interested in making sure we do things that will benefit the people in these areas because aqap and others thrive off of the instability. there are very legitimate grievances. we need to be able to work with local communities that are out there to address those issues. >> in the front row here. >> do you worry that public support for the war on terrorism will wane over time with the domestic problems that we have, the economy, and the debt, in the sense that the killing of osama bin laden represents a real turning of the page? >> we intentionally do not use
the term war on terrorism. the explanation is are we are in a war with al-qaeda. are we concerned about the american public after the death of osama bin laden? i think there is a concern that there are some folks out there who believe that because we have not suffered a spectacular attack at that hands of al-qaeda in the last decade that the threat is not serious or great bear that they keep hearing about our successes. i think that may be a perception, that some folks in the american public have it. i think if you were to poll the community throughout the government and other areas, they seek real threats that are still all there. coming up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and other things, we want to be sure that we are vigilant and as a poised
to afford these attacks. working with congress, i do not think there is any delusion on the part of folks in congress that this is an effort that we need to maintain. i would like to think that over time we are going to be more efficient in how we apply our resources as we know more about the threats and address the vulnerabilities and maybe automate more of these activities. we have come such a long way. we have been able to, as a result of technology, been able to do things with less people who actually have to manually put things in. what that want to do is we will be able to maintain an appropriate amount of resources so we can continue to prosecute this effort that will allow us to identify these threats and be prepared to be resilient in the event of any kind of attack and
maintain our pro-active posture because if we relent at this point, if we allow al-qaeda to regenerate in certain areas, that group is still out there that we need to maintain our focus on. >> second row here. >> i was wondering how you think of the drawdown in afghanistan has shifted from a counter terrorism posture will affect our long-term strategic partnership with pakistan. >> we have a long-term goal in that area, which is to make sure we are able to maintain very deep, strong, and broad ties with pakistan and afghanistan. when we talk about it, we talk
about the afghan-pakistan theater. and to mitigate the threats that were coming. that architecture involves sources and that we have, both technical and human, and involves partnerships with the pakistanis and afghans. it is having the ability to make sure there will be dialogue and cooperation between afghanistan and pakistan because that is a border area in which is a leveraged. drawing down the 10,000 troops this year and then drawing down the fourth surge, a total of 33,000 by next summer, that is going to not only affect our ability to continue our counter- terrorism effort. as we look out over the next
several years, we are able to insure that we keep in place of the capabilities, the architecture, the resources, of the platforms that will allow us to ensure that that area is never again going to be used as a launching pad for devastating attacks against the homeland. that partnership -- there is no alternative to us or the pakistanis to insuring that we continue engaging with them. it is frustrating. at the same time, no other country have we taken as many terrorists of the battlefield as we have with pakistan. no other country has lost more intelligence officers. at the same time, they are giving their lives every day. i am very appreciative of the efforts they have made. >> our immediate colleagues have been very patient. >> i appreciate your last
statement, but i think those statement you gave before that about single collateral damage. if you read pakistan the media, you get a very different picture. at the media says there was not a single suicide attack before we got involved in that part of the world. pakistan has lost more than 30,000 people. people are so angry and we are unable to -- we think that somehow pakistani allies are not important -- >> do you have a question? >> how can you really address these issues without addressing, and pakistanis' concerns? >> my view is that there is a real cancer within pakistan from
the standpoint of military organizations. whether you are talking about al-qaeda, the taliban, other groups, there is a i think a general recognition in the united states as well as throughout the world that pakistan has a real challenge ahead of its to uproot and eradicate the forces of militancy within pakistan. i think the pakistani government and the people have to be very honest with the challenge that they faced domestically, that it is an area that has served as a training ground, as a launching pad, to carry out attacks, but not just against other countries and united states, but against pakistanis. men, women, and children in pakistan are being murdered by these attacks, by these suicide attacks. they are anything but suicide
attacks. they are homicide attacks. i hope the government and all of these institutions are going to become more aggressive in taking the bottle to these forces of militancy and terrorism. >> right there. >> thank you. i am looking at the big picture. what do you see as the top factors and denying al-qaeda's success in attacking the homeland over the past 10 years? >> top factors. one is i think we have made the united states and much less hospitable environment for al- qaeda to apply its trade. it is not difficult for them to move their operatives here. local law enforcement has done a tremendous job detecting activities within our 50 states that are terrorist-related, and they have done a tremendous job.
secondly, taking the word to al- qaeda. not just sitting back here trying to protect ourselves, but actually going out and carrying out the operations that we need to be able to destroy the organization. it is clear from the materials that were covered -- that were recovered from the osama bin laden compound is they realized they were being pummeled. he was frustrated with a lot of his commanders that they were not carrying out attacks. the fact that we have degraded the threats, we have addressed the vulnerability is, we have improved capabilities of the foreign governments, i think is the combination of things that really has contributed to making this country safer.
about saudi arabia? and whether the discussions that have come up over things like hosni mubarak of fact counter- terrorism? >> when john introduced me, he said i was stationed -- if you look at the number of books, this day i was chief of station in saudi arabia. that may or may not be the case. [laughter] i spent about six years in saudi arabia. i think our government was willing to be forthcoming. there was a campaign by al-qaeda to carry out attacks against housing compounds, the international guard. it became very personalized. brutally killed by al-qaeda. they took to heart. since then, and saudi arabia has develop capabilities. it is one of the best partners that the united states has. they recognize there was a cancer within their house boy.
they say they were too late in coming to this game. when i think about the question of pakistan, i am hoping the pakistani people are going to realize this is a war. the saudis have had to fight their war for several years. right now, it is a testament to how far we have come since 9/11. aqap, when it concealed the bombs on the cargo aircraft, they would've taken down those planes if we did not have the information from the saudis. i was giving a speech here in washington, and i've got a call from the assistant deputy minister of saudi arabia who needed to speak with me urgently. i called him back. he gave me the information and it was being passed through the channels as well that provided the details about where those ied's were, what package, and we
were able to locate them before they were going to go off. it saved lives, without a doubt. if the saudis did not provide that information, we would've had a couple of aircraft coming down out of the air. at the investment we have made with our partners -- saudi arabia is a good example. over the next 10 years, we are going to have the other stories like what has happened with saudi arabia, that things have really turned around, that the situation of terrorism in these countries -- we are going to get ahead of its credit is going to be a long and sometimes difficult battle. we are ready for it. i want to say thank you to everyone here
news about the health care law. a court in cincinnati upholding president obama's health-care overhaul. a three-judge panel gave the ruling today, the first in favor of the health-care law, on an appeals panel, anyway. we will take you live to a senate subcommittee hearing and looking at diplomatic security, as members focus on a diminishing the military's role in iraq. we will have more on the gao report saying that the diplomatic security service is not well prepared to handle tasks like downed aircraft. the hearing is live at 2:30. the federal reserve board will the meeting on rules dealing with debt card interchange fees. we will hear about a plan mandated by the dodd-frank regulations law saying that merchants will be charged no more than 12 cents for debit card transaction. that is on c-span3.
tomorrow marks a defense secretary robert gates' final day on the job. we will bring you attribute -- you a tribute on c-span.org. >> blackberry users can access any time with a free app. you can listen to our signature interview programs each week. it is available around the clock, wherever you are. download it free from blackberry app world. sunday on "in depth," linda hogan. her books focus on the native american issues and the environment. join our three-hour conversation, taking your phone calls, e-mails, and tweets for the pulitzer prize finalist
linda hogan. >> this morning, chairman of the -- former chairman of the house intelligence committee, peter hoekstra, joined us to talk about the mission and afghanistan and libya. "washington journal" continues. host: former congressman pete hoekstra and now a senior adviser at a public policy and law practice. he also is doing education worked at heritage. welcome back. guest: good to be here. thank you. host: let me begin with afghanistan. here is "the washington post."
this was guarded primarily by afghan security. what you make of this going forward and implications of it for the transition? guest: if you look at any single event and say now this is going to redefine our strategy for the next six months or 12 months. afghanistan was a broken state when we went in there. when we went in there. kabul was governing the capitol and appear there was no unified police force that maintain order and stability throughout the country. it is still that way. that will probably be the conditions in afghanistan when we pull out. this is just an indication that in that type of environment you will find gaps where the taliban or al qaeda can pull off these spectacular attacks. host: what did you make of the president's strategy that he announced recently? guest: i don't get all the
details i used to get, but i thought it was unsettling yesterday when you heard that the military commander, general allan, saying that the president chose an option that was not presented to him by the military. this means president obama is going a different direction where the military believes they need to go. taking a look at afghanistan and seeing that the president will be pulling troops out during what is called the fighting season in afghanistan, that really does not appear to be to make a lot of sense. either you keep them there during the fighting season and start pulling them out during the winter of this year or you make the decision they are going to stakes through the fighting season this year and the fighting season all of next year, but pulling them out during that, i'm not sure why the president would want to do that. host: some of your own colleagues say that we are nation-building and we should not be doing that.
guest: i am sympathetic to that view. there's only so much we are going to be able to get done in afghanistan. it is a failed broken state before we got there and it still is. when we leave we are not going to leave afghanistan increases -- that embraces democracy. i don't think we will have established a government in kabul that will have control over the rest of the country. if hopefully, we will have provided the capability for this government? to have some ability to fight the taliban and that we will be able to maintain a presence that enables us to continue a counterterrorism strategy. we need to have the resources and capabilities for the long- term to go after the taliban, go after al qaeda to make sure that they don't have the capability to plan, prepare attacks against the united states or the west.
host: as the former intelligence chairman in the house, what do you know that make you believe strongly that we have to stay there? guest: what i know is that the taliban and al qaeda, they go to areas that are not governed. they have freedom to operate is what that means. that's why they went to a chemist and and why they are in pakistan right now. that is where they feel safest. that's why they are in yemen, because yemen has large areas of on government territory. it's why they are in northern africa. -- ungovernmened territory. we need a strategy to go after these radical jihadist elements so we can stay safe. the threats will continue. they will go to these areas. we need the ability to reach reach in and attack them and
keep them on the defensive. if they have a safe haven, it provides them with the opportunity to prepare to attack the west against. host: where is the safe-haven? afghanistan and pakistan? host: it is in both areas. it's all, in yemen and it is also the northern tier of africa. the northern tier of africa, but the southern parts of algeria, libya, that whole area where they have created safe havens where they want to establish themselves. host: your reaction to former minnesota governor tim pawlenty in his speech yesterday in new york to the council on foreign
relations where he spoke about his potential gop rivals and some in the republican party saying that there are isolation sentiments. he said this, "america has one party partly devoted to retrenchment and decline and withdrawal and does not need a second one." guest: i did not see his speech and i not seen exactly what his strategy is. for individuals in either party to be questioning the our strategy in libya and throughout the middle east is very appropriate. to be questioning the long-term strategy in afghanistan and pakistan is perfectly appropriate. it does not make you isolationist. the president has not laid out a clear case of what are u.s. national interest is in libya. at the same time he has not laid out a strategy that enables him to say we are going into libya, but we are not going to go to syria.
gadhafi, as much as capitol hill want to write off the last 10 years, for the last nine years, gaddafi was an ally. the bush administration reopened relationship with gaddafi. he turned over its nuclear program. he participated in helping us fight radicals in northern africa. i have been over there every times at the request of the executive branch. he understood the threat from radical jihadist. he is a bad guy. the bush administration and for the first part of the obama administration, they embraced him because he was going to fight radical jihadists with us. but we have not forgotten that. for few months we were saying ashir assad would have
reforms in syria, but give me a break. this man has done nothing for forms. for capitol hill and others to question the strategy does not mean we are isolationist, it means we are taking a look at what we would like to see as strategy in the middle east and we're not seeing a strategy -- a long-term strategy to fight radical jihadist s. to ask the president to be clearer on articulating our long-term strategy for defeating the radical derides, for bringing about reform change in the middle east, that is not isolationist. it is appropriate. host: should gaddafi be removed? guest: i think you have no option at this point in time but to remove him. host: we have not gone in there, but we should remove tampa? guest: i think the president has to make a more compelling case for why we did go in. now that you have wounded gaddafi, the worst thing for
europe and the libya and america is that he would stay in power. host: how does nato do that? guest: it is very embarrassing. we are 100 days or more in this campaign and you are in a small country fighting gaddafi and he is still holding on. if you are going to go into something like this, you cannot do it halfheartedly, which is what nato and the u.s. has done. host: we mentioned at the top that spew our senior adviser to a law practice. do you represent clients who have a stake in the fight? guest: i work with a client very interested in the humanitarian efforts and bringing forward humanitarian efforts in to libya. he believes that is essential khaddafi be removed and a new government be put into place. host: is the part of the opposition? guest: he is not.
host: let's go to stephanie, democratic call in riverside, california. caller:good morning, c-span. i wanted to say when congress was asking the american people to accept medicare and social security, we need to get out of these wars. we do not need to be over in iraq. we need to remove everyone from iraq and afghanistan. i also have a question. we have been in afghanistan over 10 years now. if they are not ready to ticker the government now, they will never be ready. we need to get out of these wars. we cannot afford them. the republicans have all kinds of suggestions for the commander in chief oand say he should listen to his military top
official leaders when president bush did what he wanted to do, and it is like asking -- the tail wagging the dog. you have to listen to the leader pierre did the president is the commander in chief. >> the first thing i point out is we have to try to get the genie back in the bottle. by that i mean foreign policy is very hard. defeating al qaeda it is very difficult. managing through the change in the middle east is very difficult. it would be very nice if we could set aside the partisan posturing on these issues and move to a bipartisan foreign policy. it used to be that the partisanship stopped at the shoreline, and once we started going overseas we would do it in a bipartisan way so that we
could show a unified front. we did that a number of times when i was in the house. democrats and republicans. the bush administration asking us to meet with arafat, to go to muammar gaddafi to meet with these individuals. as a group republicans and democrats we would listen to the administration, we would understand what the message was, and if we agreed with it, we would make sure we would go in and present a single message to the leaders we were working with. over the last member of years we have really seen foreign policy become a political dogfight. that hurts all of us. >> there seems to be bipartisan opposition to help guinness ban. that is coming from both parties
. there seems to be bipartisan opposition to afghanistan. >> i slightly disagree with the calller. -- guest: i slightly disagree with the calller. we cannot do this based on the cost. you have to lay out the national strategic interest for the united states to be involved in each of these wars. the betting is that if we start a national strategic interest, it is cheaper to confront the threats overseas than to let the threat consolidate and grow and attack us here at home. if we cannot make that type, that we have to reassess why we're at a certain location overseas. host: a tweet from a viewer --
guest: the reason is we bombed him, we bombed his house. we have sent in troops, and if we allow this individual to read consolidate and have control over libya and have a safe haven, we have seen what he is done in the past. he is about person. this is the guy that orchestrated the takedown of pan am 103. this is the guy that orchestrated the bombing of the sites in germany that were targeted at americans. if he gets the safe haven, this guy will be bent on revenge, so now that we have started this fight, you need to see it through and finish it. host: when the senate foreign relations committee voted yesterday to allow limited engagement in libya, and by the with the full senate is set to take that up after the fourth of july recess. there were other amendments that
were approved. this is in "the new york times" -- let's go to virginia. james on the republican pline. caller: i want to comment on the new york president from afghanistan. afghanistan. they're not going to protect their own country with that kind of money. guest: i am not sure it is $200 per month is the appropriate
salary. if i were in afghanistan, i 2000 peress 200,000 - month is a pretty good salary. are these individuals committed to the government and the organizations and structures that they put in place? if what is accurate, and these individuals are not willing to stand and fight, it means they are not committed to the organizations and government. host: the next calller is on the democratic line. caller: it seems you were on the intelligence committee when you were in the house. you spent 10 years and did not get osama bin laden. what is killing you is president obama said he would get him before he got elected into
office and he did. is it true you were a lobbyist for libya? guest: no, i am not a lobbyist for libya. for libya. and it does not kill me at all. i and grilled. m thrilled. i made the decision to leave congress, and then i made the decision to run for governor. i lost in the primary. host: republican line from texas. caller: i am retired military. when did the military's functions mean stop fighting wars and become nation building? also, how long will we be on the hook for paying these guys
salaries over there? we are paying the whole country in afghanistan. it is time to get out of there. i have been a republican for 46 years, and i did not believe anything you are saying. guest: that is an interesting comment. i appreciate that. i do not think the military's i do not think the military's job has ever been nation building. i think we have seen that in a number of the wars we have been involved with. when you get involved with -- when you ask the military to get involved with nation-building and ask them to fight a war with one hand tied behind their back, those of the things that create problems for the military. they were not trained to do that. we have the best trained military in the world. when we ask them to do things they're not trained and prepared to do is when they have severe problems. host: lee independent calller.
you are on the air. caller: i just wanted to comment that i think it is very despicable that we are more concerned about every citizen and every other country more than the american citizens. our economy right now is tanking. we are over fighting wars in libya concerned about the citizens over there. i think that is very unacceptable. host: what do you think about that? we hear that a lot. guest: i think it is a very legitimate argument, and i think this is why the president needs to lay out a case for why we are in libya or why we may potentially be and other areas throughout the middle east. people are hurting throughout the country. take a look at the young people. there are only one-quarter of teenagers this summer that will
have the opportunity to get jobs. i think it is a real legitimate sentiment. sentiment. host: let's go to another tweet. guest: the original rationale was the government impact on afghanistan, the taliban, they were the ones that created the environment and safe haven for al qaeda prior to 9/11. they are the ones that provide a safe haven for a osama bin laden and his organization as they prepared and ultimately executed the attacks on 9/11. to annapolis.
steve, republican. caller: i think back to all the different things that have happened -- anyway, what five. is half the things that have happened seem to be against the constitution. host: what are you referring to? caller: let's talk about the libya thing. that's talk about manufacturing going overseas. they come in and go, and they continue to harm our country. that is my point. it is the politicians. we need to get back to the constitution. anyone not supported the constitution needs to be eliminated. anyone who has done things such as the bank bailout and such need to be held accountable. guest: the opportunities are every two years to hold people
accountable. the emergence of the tea party and other organizations i think will enhance the ability and the effectiveness of the electorate to hold politicians accountable. host: what do you think about the strict adherence that some have called for? guest: i am speaking to a tea party group on the fourth of july. i'm going back and reading the federalist paper. i am reading them in a transcribed version in the days language. it is very and lightning to go back and read these and read their interpretation of how the constitution would work and how america governed and following the constitution would work. it is very refreshing to see how they expected it to work. how then taking a look at h
it is working, i think there is a strong and valid argument to get back to constitutional principles more thoroughly as the founding fathers envisioned it to be here did you would see quite a different america and quite a more robust america. host: you are in a group for the fourth of july. which group? guest: my local two-party group is doing a rally celebrating america's heritage, would you talk about the roots and what the founding fathers envisioned? i said absolutely. the best way to do that is read -- reread the federalist paper. ,hen i lost the governor's race my wife and i thoroughly enjoyed the process and public life. you never like losing, but we did not leave the race better or
public life better. sometimes you say i will never do, but we did not say that. if the door sometime in the future is opened again to serve in public office in one form or another, we would very much consider it. it is not like we need to get back into it. host: would you run for your old seat? guest: no. you cannot go back. was a great 15 years in the private sector. it was a great 18 years. it was an honor to serve in congress, but going back to the house is an option i would not consider. senate or the executive branch. host: district heights, md.. the measure -- deborah, a democratic calller. caller: i know the wars, we are
protecting the countries and that is part of the american process to protect our interests, but what concerns me is it is a war against middle- class and low-income when you talk about unemployment ant. unemployment is at an all-time high. middle-class americans, and it appears to be republicans and the congress attacking the programs for social needs. this is the america that i believe in. this is the america that i have worked for 40 years -s. host: any thoughts on this? guest: america it is a land of
opportunity and where government gets out of the way. and the best social program is creating an environment where someone gets a job. i graduated from michigan during the carter years. it was amazing. the economy was tough, but we never really thought about not having the on fortunately of getting a job. that is very different than it is for my kids and other kids today. and a lot of these kids that are now brad trading with good skills, good colleges and universities and they're not finding jobs. finding jobs. the war in the middle class is creating an environment of over regulation and over taxation. creating an environment where businesses will move jobs overseas because we have made it a hostile environment here in the u.s. to create those jobs, and other countries have made it more inviting to create those jobs in their countries rather
than in the united states. but give back to creating an environment where we will have an engine of job creation in the united states. -- let's get back to creating an environment where we will have an engine of job creation in the united states. and for each of these strategies you have to take a look at what the outcome will be in thtwo, four, or six years. if we go to total war in afghanistan today and killed the vast majority of al qaeda and taliban, that mean to go across the border into pakistan, which is safe haven. let's say we are successful there and then you pull out. at that point in time will you have a strong central government that will govern the country and have a strong military?
my answer to that is no, you will not. host: we're talking to people extra. -- pete hoekstra. doing some work for heritage foundation as well. we will go to fill, a republican in connecticut. caller: two quick points. the united states is the most profitable nation in the world. it is like anything else, when you are used to something, you want it your way, and that will continue, but what i am saying is this is reflecting to the reef -- to the political process. we need to take a deep breath as americans and be grateful for what we have and not be so reactionary to other political
situations because we have the power -- and the great country wants what they want when they want it, but we need to take a deep breath and look at getting into the conflict. the fact that congress is now complaining about what obama did as far as >> we take you live to a senate subcommittee hearing on the diplomatic security. there is a new government accountability report that says that the diplomatic security service is not well prepared to handle tasks such as downed aircraft recovery and more. that is senator akaka, chairman of the subcommittee, and the hearing is just getting under way live here on c-span. >> i want to say aloha and
welcome to our witnesses, and also to all of you, and thank you so much for being here today with us. the subcommittee held a hearing in 2009 to examine staffing and management challenges at the state department's diplomatic security bureau, which protect state department employees and property worldwide. today's hearing will build on the previous hearing, as well as examined the results of our government accountability of this review -- office review of diplomatic security training challenges. since the 1998 bombings of u.s. embassies in east africa, the bureau's mission has expanded dramatically to meet the state department's in evolving security needs.
with our military planning to withdraw its remaining 50,000 troops from iraq by eight years and, diplomatic security will face an unprecedented challenge. the bill will be responsible for many security and protective -- the bureau will be responsible for many security a protective functions now performed by the military, clearing explosives devices and defending a u.s. post against a rocket or mortar attack. in addition, the bureau is expected to implement a state department recommendation to provide a high threat awareness training to all employees in both high and critical threat posts. this would require the bureau to train 10,000 employees per year,
five times the number for 2010. the bureau's responsibilities will continue to expand with the planned troop reductions in afghanistan. as we deploy more civilian federal employees to support democratically -- democratic reform and self governance in iraq, afghanistan and other high-threat areas, it is very critical that diplomatic security have the training, resources and support needed to protect them. the government accountability of this report released today -- government accountability office report released today to that ds is doing a remarkable job of preparing its people to provide robust security in an
unpredictable environment. but i do want to highlight a major concern the gao raises. gao's report finds that diplomatic security training facilities are inadequate. the bureau is using 16 different leased, rented or borrowed facilities. in some of these sites, the training needs are not a priority, which increases costs and the need for training delays. also, some facilities are too small or in need of repair. although the bureau is in the process of selecting a site to build a consolidated training facility, this will take the years to complete. another significant concern that i have, which i asked the bureau
to address today, is how it oversees its large contractor workforce. diplomatic security provides security to more high-threat areas, and the bureau is increasingly reliant on contracts that -- contract staff. contractors make up about 90% of its total work force. this requires the bureau to train its work force in contract oversight, in addition to personal security. the 2007 blackwater shooting that killed 17 iraqi civilians while protecting a state convoy it reminds us that contractors,
particularly those acting as bodyguards, must be held to the highest standards of training and accountability, because the stakes are tremendously high. i also look forward to hearing about what steps the bureau has taken to address key issues raised at the subcommittee's 2009 hearing, particularly interested in the bureau's progress in addressing language proficiency shortfalls and staffing gaps, balancing the need to provide a strong security with carrying out the diplomatic mission, and improving its strategic planning, which is important for targeting limited resources in this budget climate. i know that mr. boswell and his
team are working hard to address these challenges. i look forward to hearing about whitby road's efforts, as well as discussed -- hearing about the bureau's efforts, as well as discussing ways to move forward. i thank our witnesses for being here today to discuss these critical issues. i look forward to hearing from our first panel of witnesses and welcome them here today. ambassador eric boswell, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. jess ford, director of international affairs and trade at the government accountability office. i understand that mr. ford is retiring on friday after 38 years of a federal service, and
this will be his last time testifying before this subcommittee. over the years, mr. ford has done extensive work on improving state department operations and management of american embassies, and we certainly will miss him. gao informed us that you have testified before this subcommittee more than any other gao staffer. this subcommittee has placed great value and trust in your work, and it is with great appreciation, mr. ford, that i say thank you very much for your years of a valuable service with gao, and i wish you success in your future endeavors.
as you know, it is the custom of this subcommittee to swear in all witnesses. i ask both of you to stand and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give this subcommittee is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. let it be noted for the record that a witness is answered in the affirmative. before we start, i want you to know that your written statements will be made part of the record, and i would also like to remind you to please limit your remarks to five minutes. ambassador boswell, it is always good to have you, so please proceed with your statement. >> thank you, senator akaka. i am honored to appear before you today. i would like to thank you and the committee members for your continued support and interest
in the bureau of diplomatic security's programs. this support enables diplomatic security to safeguard diplomats and facilities for the conduct of u.s. foreign policy, while also maintaining it robust programs that serve to protect the west borders and our presence overseas. is at theng program core of our readiness to fulfill these missions. with your permission, i will make a brief statement. as i have stated but for this committee in the past, ds continues to provide the most secure environment possible for the conduct of american foreign policy. i must reiterate that the scope and scale of our weithorn ability -- of our authority has grown immensely. significant resources are necessary if we are to meet the requirements of securing our diplomatic facilities in the extremely high-threat informants of iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, sudan, mexico as well as other
dangerous locations worldwide. the department now operates diplomatic missions in cases where in the past we likely would have closed the post and evacuated all personnel when faced with similar threats. however, the need to conduct diplomacy in the post-9/11 environment is essential to our nation's security. to meet our challenges now and in the future, personnel and resources have grown and evolved. we are engaged in an intensive worker and campaign, we have increased our reach to colleges and universities with an eye towards building professional service that reflects america's diversity. as a result of our ambitious recruitment efforts, we have reduced our vacancy rate. this has also changed the requirements for training our people. ds training has progressed tremendously in the past several years. review accurately reflects the success of our training director it.
to ensure that the personnel are highly qualified, we evaluate our training programs. by incorporating student feedback, we can offer a high- quality instructions to new and existing personnel. this helps to verify that the training offered is relevant to the new reality of the department's mission. it also ensures that personnel are prepared to assume responsibilities in high-threat and challenging environments. however, as noted in the recent gao report, resources are now maximum student capacity and capabilities. a new foreign affairs training center would expand and improve the delivery of the training for government employees. personal saving in contingencies must be not only be trained and prepared to assume increasing responsibilities, but also have the necessary support services available to them both during and after their assignment to high-stress posts. the department fully realizes
that when one of its employees serve in a high-threat environment, the whole family serves with him or her in one form or another. a full array of services is available to these personnel and their families, from medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and others. i want to assure the committee that we are paying attention to all personnel have been or could be affected by ptsd, and addressing any issues early on to help those persons in need. the department uses private security contractors to assist in meeting security staffing requirements in critical threat and non-permissives such as iraq and afghanistan. as a result of changes implemented in review during the conduct of the department's quadrennial policy review, the department is able to provide proper management, oversight and operational control of psc's it has deployed overseas. the world wide protective
services contract awarded in 2010 inc. essential lessons learned to ensure that psc's contacted perform activities in a professional, responsible, culturally sensitive and cost- effective manner. ds continues to explore ways to provide innovative and security blueprints to improve our national foreign policy priorities. we must continue to develop a cadre of personnel who can think creatively, propose solutions, speak the language, and work with their embassy colleagues to not sacrifice safety and security. in conclusion, i want to assure the committee that ds is prepared to provide a secure platform and environment the department of state needs to meet the challenging diplomatic responsibilities we face in this ever-changing world. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you with your continued support, we will ensure that diplomatic security remains a valuable and
effective resource for protecting our people and information and infrastructure on the world -- are around the world. >> thank you very much, ambassador, for your statement. mr. ford, please proceed with your statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank you for your kind comments regarding my lengthy career at gao. 38 years is a long time, but i am looking forward to retirement. i am pleased to be here today to discuss training efforts at the bureau of diplomatic security at the state department. my testimony is based on the report being released today. diplomatic security is responsible for the protection of people, information and property at over 400 and the seas -- 400 embassies. as we have reported in previous testimony, at they have an expanded mission and have had a significant growth in their budget and personnel over the
last decade. diplomatic security trains its work force and others to address of variety of threats, including crime, espionage, passport fraud, technological intrusions, political violence and terrorism. to meet its training needs, diplomatic security relies primarily on its training center, which is part of its training director at, and is the primary provider of diplomatic security training activities. ds' training budget has grown steadily from fiscal year 2006 to 2010 to $70 million. today i am going to talk to the about two main issues in our report, first having to do with the diplomatic security's quality of training and appropriateness of its training and the extent to which it ensures that requirements are
met, and secondly, i will talk a little bit about the challenges facing diplomatic security. we reported that ds has had to meet the challenge of turning more personnel to perform additional duties while still getting its agents, engineers and other staff into the field where they are needed. ds has met this challenge by meeting high standards for training. specifically, ds inc. federal law enforcement accreditation standards, and is the first government organization to be accredited with the standards. certain issues have constrained the effectiveness of some ds training activities. in our report, we noted that ds lacks a comprehensive system to evaluate the effectiveness of some of its training. secondly, we said that ds has
not been able to accurately track the overall training of all the people that take training. to some extent, this is an issue with non-state staff who have been trained in certain courses that are required when they are stationed overseas and a dangerous locations. we made a couple of recommendations to improve and we agree with both of them. our report also identifies other challenges facing ds. first, ds must train diplomatic security personnel to perform you missions in iraq as they that your 24 have been taken by -- as a take on new responsibilities that heretofore have been taken on by that u.s. military. dealing with downed aircraft,
rocket and mortar countermeasures, among others. because of this increase security responsibility, ds anticipate is going to have to rely heavily on contractors to carry out these types of responsibilities. ds officials noted that the additional training that will be needed will likely increase their need to put more people into the field. any delays in finalizing state's expanded mission in iraq could also affect ds' ability to develop and deliver any types of additional training. the second major challenge that we identify in our report had to do with increased requirements laid out in the state department's quadrennial diplomacy and development review. in essence, the review calls for ds to significantly increase trading at more high-threat,
critical posts. the numbers suggest that they would have to increase training from 23 to 178 posts, and the number of students that would have to be trained would increase from 2000 to 10,000. this would have significant implications for ds in terms of its budget and training requirements. finally, at issue you identified in your state, and the third challenge in our report, asked to do with training facilities. currently, they have a highly decentralized and facilities. you mentioned that the 16 we have in our report. we found that many of these are substandard and half and never of inadequacies. -- our report half a number of inadequacies. our report details instances where ds was unable to deliver realistic training because of shortfalls in these facilities. recognizing that these existing facilities are inadequate, ds has proposed establishing a
consolidated training center. they are currently looking at potential sites. they harbor provided approximately $136 million -- have been provided approximately $136 million. however, is unclear what the total cost of building the sites it might be and when it they might be available. we have some concern about how ds is going to be able to meet this increasing mission. mr. chairman, i am going to stop here and answer any questions you might have. >> thank you very much, mr. ford. thank both of you for your statements. let me start with a question for ambassador boswell. ambassador, president obama recently announced plans to withdraw 33,000 troops from afghanistan by next summer and
fully transitioned security responsibilities to the afghan people by 2014. i support these plans, and look forward to welcoming home our brave troops. as you know, many diplomats and federal civilian employees will continue to serve in iraq and afghanistan after the troop withdrawals. i worry about the degree of risk we are asking them to undertake. my question to you -- what planning is under way to make sure that ds will be fully prepared to protect diplomats and u.s. civilian personnel in iraq and afghanistan as the military withdraws? >> mr. chairman, thank you for that question. we are engaged, the department of the state and ds, in a
marathon of planning. it is the planning for the transition in iraq, probably the most complex planning effort ever a undertaken by the state department and perhaps one of the most complicated civilian planning efforts undertaken by the u.s. government. we have been working on it for years. we think we have a good planning structure set up, and we think we have a good plan, and the short answer to your question is that we will be in a position to provide security for our people in iraq after december 31 of this year, when all u.s. troops will be gone from the country. having said that, as i said, it is a very complex and difficult task. we are going to be dramatically increasing the number of the security personnel at posts in iraq, and we will be increasing also the use of contractors, in part for some of the things you
mentioned and mr. ford mentioned, certain functions and activities that are not being -- that are not department of state functions, where we are taking over functions now provided by the u.s. military. we think we have got the structure in place to do it. i should make the point that combat operations in iraq seized over a year ago -- ceased over a year ago. we have been providing a security to our very large u.s. embassy in baghdad for over a year without any assistance from the military beyond certain, very specialized functions, and we expect to be able to continue to do that. you are asking us about afghanistan also, sir. obviously, we are not there yet, there is not a transition yet. the president just announced the beginning of a drawdown in afghanistan. but i can assure you we've learned a lot in the planning
process in iraq and we will apply those to afghanistan. >> thank you. ambassador, as the military withdraws from iraq and later afghanistan, ds will provide certain security and protective services that the military is performing now, such as downed aircraft recovery and explosives ordnance disposal. however, the military provides many services such as intelligence collection providing invisible deterrence in ways that ds cannot. how will the loss of these important capabilities a fact of the way -- effect the way ds provides security in iraq and afghanistan, and is ds equipped to handle all the functions it will be asked to assume? >> senator, mr. chairman, i was
in iraq several years ago, and the security situation in iraq right now, i think it is fair to say, is infinitely better than it was at the worst of times, 2005-2007. you are right, sir, in saying that certain key functions of the u.s. military will be absent. they cannot be replaced by ds. notably, counter-rocket fire. we are not an offensive unit in ds. some intelligence functions as well. as it iraq normalizes it as a nation, we will rely, as we do in most countries, on the iraqi forces and iraqi police for these functions to the maximum extent that we can. >> mr. ford, in 2009, gao
recommended that state conduct a strategic review of diplomatic security's mission, budget and personnel state's quadrennial diplomacy and development review. once state agreed with the recommendation, the qddr did not include this strategic review. will you please discuss how inadequate strategic planning may affect ds may affect the u.s. operations? >> yes, mr. chairman, let me respond to that. first of all, we were disappointed the qddr did not take a more strategic look at u.s. operations.
the u.s. had been required to expand the number of missions. it asked for the support of the department's overall. they are often put into what i would characterize as a reactionary posture, which i do not think is good from a planning point of view. our goal in 2009 was for the department to take a longer look and come up with a more strategic way of assessing the needs and requirements. i think i can say our current report was focused on the training part of the ds, and there still seems to be a gap here. ds is trying to respond to all the new missions lay upon them. we have discussed iraq, afghanistan. the fact that the training facilities are not up to speed, how they are not going to be
able to respond to the increased growth in training capabilities they are going to have to develop. all lot of issues that in my mind could have been included in that strategic review. in my perspective, we would still like to see the department take a broader view of ds to give them more lead time in figuring out what their needs are. certainly, the issue of human capital, having people to do contract oversight, those issues are the issues ds is going to be faced with over the next couple of years. the department needs to, in our view, do more comprehensive review of what they need. as far as we are concerned, that recommendation has not been fully enacted by the department. >> let me follow up the question.
ambassador, the u.s. faces unprecedented challenges in iraq and afghanistan, while continuing to protect u.s. diplomats worldwide. to meet these challenges, the u.s. must use its limited resources strategically. what steps are we taking to develop a strategic plan? >> mr. chairman, as a result of the recommendation and the gao report -- the report from 2009 had two recommendations on strategy. one was the department, as mr. ford just said, should look at ds in a strategic manner, and second that ds should develop
its own strategic planning, and i agree with that. i and my senior leadership meet every six months, more often than not. it is extremely helpful to the way we do our business and the way we look forward. i think this is an initiative we are working successfully. in terms of the broader issues mr. ford just raised, we will take that back with us again, to the department. the qddr, which was secretary clinton's signature initiative when she came to the department, was a strategic review. but it was not a strategic review of ds. it was a strategic review overall, and the implementation of recommendations, including some that have been mentioned in testimony here, is on going.
>> ambassador boswell, ds performs many roles in addition to protecting employees in embassies, including providing for tactic details of foreign dignitaries -- protective details to foreign dignity's -- dignitaries and security for international events. in november, how why he will be hosting the asian pacific economic -- hawaii will be hosting the asian-pacific economic leaders meeting. what measures will be in place to provide protective measures at the apec meeting. >> sir, ds is heavily involved
in the event that will take place this fall. the lead agency is the u.s. secret service, which the appropriate given the number of heads of state that will be visiting, but ds will also have a major presence in honolulu. we will be and have been working closely with the secret service and local authorities and other federal agencies to have a good, successful, safe event. >> thank you. mr. ford, as i mentioned in my statement, gao found that ds has inadequate training facilities. currently, there are 16 different facilities for training, some of which are
overcrowded or need repair. while ds as developed an interim training facility, your reports suggest it is not adequate to support all the screen needs, especially with the iraq transition. could you elaborate on the effects of the inadequate training facilities? >> yes, there are several issues that we have identified in our report regarding the condition of the facilities. some of them have to do with access, whether or not the department can get access to certain types of training. one report had to do with heavy firearms that they currently get training on down at quantico marine base. the issue there is, because it is a marine base, they have to schedule training around the marines' needs, which is not
necessarily correspond with the needs of the department. there is an access issue they need to address. other facilities we visited, they are just not realistic in the type of structures that are there to carry of the type of training ds is time -- is trying to provide to staff. i would call it our real problem. in the report, they were trying to simulate conditions of entering a facility, how to enter it in a secure manner, and the facility itself did not have walls. they basically used tape on the floor to simulate where a wall with a. that is not very realistic. other facilities where they have light arms, firearms, the firearm lanes were not adequate to the needs. there are issues with regard to the physical infrastructure and
where they have the capacity there to effectively carry out the type of training that they need to carry out. the second issue, the one i mentioned earlier, has to do with whether or not the facilities that are currently inadequate, whether they are going to be able to expand their training mission with all the new people they have to train. the people on the iraq and afghanistan missions. id is not clear to us -- it is not clear to us whether the facility they currently have will allow them to do the training. the third issue has to do with the level of communicating a consolidated training center is years down the road. there is an interim period where ds has a question of whether
they will have the facilities to the training they need to do. >> ambassador, i would like to hear from you on that issue as well. can you discuss how ds is coping with the challenges and how the bureau will expand to meet the needs until the facilities are operational? >> yes, let me say i completely agree with everything mr. ford said and i welcome those conclusions. in fact, i welcome all the conclusions of the gao report. particularly that one because it is close to our hearts. the problems he describes are real. we have long needed and long sought a training center.
we have been in the process for years of trying to obtain such a facility. we have obtained start up funding for such a facility. we went through an extensive process with the general services to administration, the u.s. government's real-estate czar, to identify sites for such a facility within a reasonable distance of washington, d.c. we have to look at, i think, well over 40 sites -- with interest from other government agencies, the private sector, etc., etc. we looked at about four sites. it may have been more. we ended up after a very long process with the gsa settling on a site on the eastern shore of maryland. unfortunately, last year, that
became improper because of local opposition to the site. that is one of the objects. need a pretty large site and it is hard to find a large site that is a properly configured with n -- within a reasonable distance of washington, d.c. we had to go back to the beginning and start over. we're closing in on a site. we have had to change our criteria a little bit to permit us to look further out from washington. that is a little bit of a problem for us, because it makes the choice selection easier, but it means since it is beyond simple driving range that our trainees will have to overnight, and that means the construction of dorms and other facilities, cafeteria, such things. that adds to the cost.
we are closing in on a site, and we hope to have something to announce in the coming months. but we absolutely, absolutely required this site. as mr. ford said, we are spread out over a range of facilities right now. the biggest problem, aside from the dispersal, is we do not own any of these facilities. we run into the problem that we are tenants in some way, and it causes problems for us. i am going on all little too long, mr. chairman, but i want to cover the question. it is a long question. how do we do training in the interim? we are years away. even if we get a site, we are years away from having a full- fledged training facility. we are going to have to continue doing what we're doing. we are going to have to continue to make do come up reflectively
and with imagination, -- we're going to have to continue to make too, reflectively and with imagination, with what we have got. we have expanded training well beyond where it is offered now. that is a real conundrum for us. we have to have a new facility to do that. we simply would not be able to do it without a new facility. there is our real question, expanding the number of trainees to 10,000, i cannot imagine training 10,000 people a year, even with the new facility. we are working with the policy planning staff of the state department to decide what high threat post should get this training? right now we give this training to people going to war zones.
afghanistan, pakistan, iraq. and we also give it to people going to pakistan, to yemen, to sedan -- sudan, and more recently, to the mexican border posts, which become more dangerous than in the past. we would have to add some posts to that, which would bring up the numbers. i do not think we will ever get to 10,000. >> thank you, ambassador. in your testimony, you mentioned the implementation of specialize security emersion training costs for personnel assigned to iraq. can you please describe what these costs in sale, including whether its involves foreign language -- entails, including whether it involves foreign
language training? >> sir, what you're talking about is of course that is 5 days long. it does not address language training. it is of course -- a course that provides some skills. id is not designed for ds agents. it is designed for regular government employees that are going to high threat areas. it deals with such things as first-aid, primary thursday, surveillance protection, how to drive a car in a high threat area, basically tries to prepare people for what they are going to encounter when they are in iraq or afghanistan or pakistan. >> ambassador boswell, as you
know, foreign language skills are critical to carrying out the mission, including security operations. i am pleased the regional security offices have fulfilled the language requirements for their positions since 2009. can you please discuss what actions state has taken or still plans to take to continue increasing language proficiency? >> mr. chairman, i am very happy to answer that question. by way of background, i had the same job tenures ago -- ten years ago, and ten years ago, very few of our jobs overseas
have language training. i come back after an absence of 10 years, and i find that two- thirds of our jobs overseas our language designated, and i think that is a very positive step in the right direction. i cannot tell you how wonderful it is to see rso's learning the native language. i was just in poland, and i was iour rso -- our rso yammering away with his counterpart in native polish. that is not something you would have seen 10 years ago. there was too low a proportion of rso language designated positions overseas were filled
by people who had not tested up to that level in the language. we have much improved, mr. chairman. in 2009, 40% of positions were held by qualified officers. now we are at about 60% being bill. we are extremely tough on language waivers, which is the way you go without the language, and we think those numbers are going way up and will continue to go up. you have my personal commitment. i have made it to the director general of the foreign service, who was working with me on this, that we're going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that we have full language components. >> thank you for that commitment. as you stated in your testimony, gao found various training
systems, such as not tracking all the individuals who received training. please talk about why these are importance? >> a couple of issues here. first, to answer your question -- white it is important to give feedback on training -- at the end of the day, you have to determine if the people who got the training found it useful in their jobs. you need to know that. so if you make modifications, you know what changes to make instead of guessing what works and what does not. that is a requirement that any training program ought to have. our concern really had to do with the systems the ds and the
department uses to track the feedback they get on certain types of training, and also to track training requirements for people who get taken training to make sure they are meeting them when they are supposed to. the current systems in place i would characterize as a relatively ad hoc, in the sense that they are using spreadsheets to keep track of people compared to an actual training management system that can track real-time information, both in terms of getting feedback and tracking requirements. the department is aware of this. ds talk to us about efforts they are currently discussing with the foreign services institute to use their training system. -- to use their tracking system. there were issues with that.
i do not know if those seven results get. there was the potential that they could develop more systematic tracking requirements. difficulty was that -- the difficulty was that ds is increasingly using on-line training. it is difficult to track people using on-line training. is an area where some improvements can be made in the systems -- it is an area were some improvements can be made in the systems. we recommend these areas. we do not think it is an area of major deficiency, but we do think they need to have a more systematic process. >> thank you. ambassador boswell, you testified that ds is working with the staid diplomatic
service institute to provide training -- with the state diplomatic service institute to provide training. please elaborate on this plan. when do you expect improvements to be complete? >> senator, mr. chairman, let me say that we are grateful to the gao for pointing out these things. these recommendations are good recommendations. as mr. ford said, we are working on the. let me say right from the top that we do get feedback. we do constantly evaluate our training, particularly our high threat training. we could do better. but we do it. for example, at our five-day course has been modified several
times in response to suggestions from people going through it, suggestions from the field. we have a process of evaluating people in the combat zones. we have made a number of significant changes since then as a result of that. we are working with the foreign to resolvestitute the systemic tracking problems and feedback problems that largely have to do with getting feedback back from folks, as mr. ford said in a statement, folks from other agencies. we're looking to find a way around that. we are still working on it. i am sure we will resolve it. >> thank you.
ambassador, ds relies heavily on contractors to conduct its mission. contractors represent over 92% of the work force. has ds conducted strategic work force planning to determine whether the current work force balance is appropriate? and will ds reassess this ballots as its mission changes and expands? >> -- and will ds reassess this balanced as its mission changes and expands? >> those are static guards. we use those that every embassy. they are almost without exception contracts with local
firms, or directors of firms that are local nationals. the part that has been controversial is the use of contractors in all wars zone, where they are not largely local hires. because of difficulty vetting local populations in the war zones. of the contractor population you just mentioned, the vast majority are in paris or cape verde protecting our embassies. that has been inappropriate. i do not think we are going to change that. in iraq and afghanistan, we have not been able to go with that model for the reasons that i mentioned. the use of contractors, security
contractors -- and less specify we are talking about security contractors. -- and let specify we're talking about security contractors. we look at them extremely extensively, and also outside organs. there is a congressional commission that has been meeting for a year and a half at least. years ago, in 2007, in the wake of the horrible incident involving the blackwater contractors that resulted in the deaths of all large number of iraqi civilians. i was sent to investigate that. i was not a state employee. i was part of a group of outside so-called experts
brought in to look at how the state department provides security in the war zone. one of the things we looked at was whether the use of contractors was appropriate, given all the circumstances. and we determined that there really was no reasonable alternative. and every commission i have every heard of and every outside expert we have ever consulted has come to the same conclusion. i do not see a radical change in that. what i do hope, what i sincerely hope, mr. chairman, is that as things become more and more in iraq over the years, and as they become more normal in afghanistan, that we can of local the use
nationals. we have started doing that in iraq. we a been a very careful. we have iraqi nationals integrated into our security forces in the north and in the kurdish area and in the north. we hope to be able to continue to do that and expand that to other sections. >> ambassador, two separate 2009 reports by the state inspector general reveals that the regional security offices were not receiving adequate planning to prepare them for their contract oversight response -- responsibilities. the ig has also reported that
contract oversight may not received sufficient attention amongst those responsibilities it must fulfil. how would you address these issues? >> contractors are used for the local guard functions. we also have a much smaller number directly engaged staff, not contractors. it is a minority, let's put it that way. in terms of contract oversight, it is fair to say that if agents were not aware that they would become experts on contract oversight, they are not aware of it. it is a major function of our agents.
for example, out of the 100 agents that will be in iraq at the beginning of 2012, when security responsibilities transfer over to us, about 80 of them will be doing contract oversight. they will be overseeing the contract guards and the bodyguards. there are two kinds of guards. our agents are getting extensive training on contract oversight. agents are contracting officer representatives at posts
overseas. they are assisted by other agents. we also have another category of the oversight of government technical monitors, which are located with the guard camps either physically or visit them consummate. -- constantly. the training is very extensive and continuous and the on-the- job training is also very important. >> thank you. in response to shortcomings of contract oversight, there is a new category of protected specialist. what policies of training are in place to make sure that these
specialists can conduct effective oversight of security contracts? >> that is closely linked to the answer i gave you in the previous question. our security protective specialist are a new kind of specialist in the state department. they were started as a pilot program and evolved into a very significant ds program. they are not a full-fledged ds agents. agents are a law enforcement people and they have for years of training before they ever go overseas. they do not only do protective functions, but law enforcement, criminal investigations. they have badges, arrest powers. security protective specialists
are there solely to exercise a direction and oversight of the contract guards during movement. in the wake of the incident, the commission that i was part of recommended -- we made 30 or 40 recommendations. all but one were adopted by the state department. one of the most important ones was that every motorcade, which is manned by contractors, would have an agent in operational control of the motorcade. all of a sudden, it did require the department to hire a bunch more agents. it caused a few of the problems
that we talked about. we had to dig agents -- we had to dig agents to iraq and afghanistan to do this function. now we have created this specialty so that it is not ds agents that is doing the oversight. they did the operational direction. i have to clarify. they have nothing to do with contract administration. they are directing the motorcade. they are simply in charge of the movement. >> thank you for the explanation. i would like to give you an opportunity to comment on the steps ds is taking to strengthen contact -- contract oversight.
what the best practice this should you consider to effectively manage a large contractor work force? >> mr. chairman, a couple of comments i would like to make. we currently have an ongoing engagement specifically looking at this issue with regard to contract oversight in iraq. that team is in the early stages of a review, so i am not in a position to comment directly about what we're finding there. i can comment a little bits about the types of elements that should be considered in overseeing contractors in general. most of these are pretty well known. the first one having to do with having a strategic planning concept of how you use these contractors, whether or not you have the right skill sets, making a decision between
whether they should be government positions or non government positions. there are some situations where you do not want to have a contractor acting in a governmental role. the issue of oversight capacity is one that comes up frequently in reviews. risk management principles, we have frequently commented on the need to ensure that we are making the right kind of decisions in terms of the environment swivel be asking contractors to work and. -- environment that we will be asking the contractors to work on a. -- in. finally, the issue of having adequate staff resources to effectively oversee a large
contract in contingent is critical. if you do not have enough people to conduct the oversight function, oftentimes problems pop up, we find that time and again. those types of elements and to be put in place. the ambassador has touched on many of them in his comments. the real issue is whether those elements are going to be put in place in a timely basis because the military will be out by the end of the year. our team will set a little more detail -- shed a little more detail on how the department is responding to this problem. >> let me talk about personnel. in 2009, approximately one-third
of diplomatic security domestic offices were operating with a vacancy rate of 25% or even higher. what are the current vacancy rates would then -- within ds? what steps is ds taking to address the staffing shortfall? >> mr. chairman, we are grateful for the support that we have had over the years. the grapes -- the beginning of the intervention in iraq, the support we have had from the congress on the budgetary side -- ds has dramatically expanded
in size to go would dramatically expanded responsibilities. we have an active recruiting campaign going on. we're going to be able to fill -- to meet our recruiting goals for agents. we have really never had a problem with that. this is an attractive career to many people. we do not have problems attracting recruits. in fact, one of the strong impressions i had from having been away for 10 years is the quality of the agents is even higher than it was. i am very pleased with that. we have -- we also had some recruiting shortfalls in certain areas. we have largely resolve them. the sps area, i was very worried
that we would be able to attract a number of people to that specialty. we expect to be able to fulfil our quota, if you like. we also had some shortfalls on the engineering side. that is a very important part of ds. we think we will be up to speed on that one as well. there is a subcategory of engineering, we still have some work to do on that. our overall rate is 9%. i think that is an entirely distensible rate. i have to tell you that if anybody that goes to our field office is struck by the number of empty desks in those field offices. that is not due to a vacancy rate. that is because our agents are in the field.
we tell all agents not to have a wedding anniversary in september, not to have any children born in september. everybody is going to be at the u.n. general assembly. that is just what we do for that month. we are satisfied with our vacancy rate. >> i am pleased that you are taking steps to better it supports employees and their families. when officers serve in high threat coasts -- posts. this will be especially important as more employees served in the so-called conflict zones.
how are you assessing the effectiveness of these fabrics to make sure they meet the needs of employees and their families? >> this is an assessment that is done by the ds and the office of medical services. we have only been in combat zones since 2003. in the seven years, we have acquired a considerable amount of experience with employees working in zones of conflict. as i mentioned, we provide -- we have learned a lot from the military. we provide our employees with a full menu of services, medical,
psychologist, psychiatrist, and other qualified medical persona. we go way beyond that. we have a peer support group, and agents working with agencies to provide support for those coming out of the combat zones. we have a program that mandates a high threats -- of anybody coming out of the combat zone. problems can be flagged and dealt with. it is a very different experience for a diplomatic security agent to serve in iraq and then going on to finland.
there is a cultural and emotional and job-type shift that goes on. those folks have to adjust to a very different kind of environment. we help them to do that. we also give a heads up to the embassies to ordaining these folks that they have to be aware of certain issues. -- cote are gaining these folks that they have to be aware of certain issues. they will be having people to come out of war zones and a need to be aware of that. i think we do everything that we cannot regard. >> i certainly appreciate all of your responses. i have a final question for you, ambassador. then i will give mr. ford an
opportunity to make a final comment. ambassador, providing a secure environment for the diplomatic mission, especially in high threats areas, requires significant resources. however, the current funding environment has created a great deal of uncertainty. what risks or trade-offs would ds if they were not provided consistent funding? >> that is a crucial question. it certainly is. you are absolutely right. the funding has not been certain or secure. we are in an extremely difficult funding environment and the united states. -- i.t. the united states.
the discussions and the congress about our budget have been extremely active, to put it mildly. the point i want to make is that we have been looking at our numbers extremely carefully. the people is sit behind me are part of that team. we have scrubbed our numbers very carefully. we are confident with the budget numbers that we have put forward. if we do not get the kind of funding from the congress that we need to do what we have to do in iraq, we will simply have to do less in iraq. nobody in the state department, nobody in the leadership of the state department, has ever asked me to compromise on security.
they have asked me to look at my numbers, but they have never asked me to do with less security than i felt comfortable. in other words, if we get less funding, we will do fewer things. we had planned to open four consulates in the iraq. that is down to two. tol never been asked compromise on the security i provide to any of those. >> thank you so much for that. mr. ford, would you like to make any final statements? >> your last question is a good one. the government will be having to address this issue of the fiscal problems in this country and our ability to conduct missions that we are asking all agencies to conduct overseas.
i think i would echo the concerns made by the ambassador that there is a trade-off. when you were talking about security, our role as protecting officials in other countries. it has an impact on our ability to conduct foreign policy. that is the challenge the department is trying to come to grips with now. i really think my comments earlier, we'd like to see a little more thinking on this issue bursa's reaction. i do -- versus reaction.
i am sure that they have to deal with this every day. i am sure they do a fine job of it, but the department as a whole needs to be more forthright in coming up with the contingencies if we do not get the resources. this will be a challenge that the department will be faced with in the next several years, along with the rest of the federal government. i am hopeful that they will take it seriously. security is the most important mission that we have in these dangerous environments. >> thank you very much, mr. ford. again, i want to wish you well. thank you so much for your work and what you have done and your
service to our country. i want to be as helpful as i can in trying to help you operate your missions that help our country. thank you so much, ambassador, for your service. your testimony, your response is, have been valuable. they will help us in our work here in the united states senate. thank you, again. i would like to call our second panel up.
>> i want to welcome susan johnson, president of the american foreign services association. it is a custom to swear in our witnesses. would you please rise and raise your right hand? do you formally swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. the witness answered in the affirmative. before we start, i want you to know that your full statement will be made part of the record and i would also like you to limit your remarks to five minutes. please proceed with your statement. >> [inaudible]
welcomes the opportunity to speak before the subcommittee on the subject of diplomatic security and its implications for u.s. diplomacy. let me say at the outset that the diplomatic security agencies the idea that the privilege to work with have been highly professional and competent. we have high regard for the dedication of ds. in an increasingly complex and dangerous global environment in which foreign policy and foreign service are required to operate as our nation's first line of defense, then need to ensure the safety and security of our foreign service personnel cannot be overemphasized. the challenge, since particular gravity would be expanding requirements for missions, personnel, and programs in conflict zones. the june 2011 government accountability report on diplomatic security and critical challenges to its training
efforts identified some weaknesses or gaps and the structure and substance of diplomatic security training. recommended that the department of state enhanced diplomatic security and training and develop an action plan to address the proposed increases in high-priced training. it is not clear to us whether the current training programs are well designed to meet the challenges of the expanded mission, especially in iraq, whether diplomatic security will have the flexibility it needs to deal with poorly performing security contracts or other problems and to respond quickly and creatively to unpredictable developments or new situations on the ground. the january report on iraq addresses the challenges of this expanded mission. given the unprecedented size and
complexity of the diplomatic mission in iraq, the report raises questions about the availability of resources and whether the mission in iraq can be implemented without the support of the u.s. military. in addition, the recent report on the department of state planning notes that while at the effective planning mechanisms are in place, key decisions remain unresolved and some plans are not finalized. it also points to the problem added security environment, a port contractor performance, and iraqi government reluctant at all levels to assume responsibility for reconstruction program. we do not have sufficient information about the scope of the u.s. mission in iraq. it is our responsibility to seek answers to many of the fundamental questions that have
been raised. according to figures, the total number of diplomatic security agents deployed worldwide is about 720. does ds have adequate resources and numbers to manage the contractors worldwide? as u.s. forces drawdown in iraq, does the transition plan a sam that the iraqi government and its military forces are ready to support and protect the u.s. civilian mission? given that december 31, 2011, it is a hard deadline for withdrawal of all u.s. forces, it -- is it adequately prepared? are the training standards sufficient to meet the risks and dangers in iraq? is the content of training before agents and other foreign service personnel?
s the iraq transition plan's elements correctly balanced? is this planet realistic and sustainable? if so, are the preparations in place? the american foreign service has a long and honorable tradition of serving wherever and whenever it is called upon to do so, what ever the conditions. however, our political and leadership are responsible for providing security for those we sent into harm's way. we hope that the subcommittee will examine the plan closely and ask hard questions about the assumptions upon which is based. i would like to thank you again for the opportunity to testify today. we greatly value your longstanding support. thank you, sir.
>> thank you very much. mrs. johnson, as the military withdraws from iraq and afghanistan, ds will provide an unprecedented level of security and protective services that the military is performing now. you raised concerns about whether the mission is compatible with the resources available. my question for you is, what resources on personnel are needed, and what more should state be doing to prepare to effectively address the security environment?
>> thank you for that question, sir. the state department is doing its best to provide -- the plan and prepare for the uncertainties in iraq and afghanistan and have undertaken a planning effort. that said, because of these uncertainties, at home and on the ground in iraq and afghanistan, afsa is concerned in two broad areas, and you have asked questions about them, and they have been addressed already. one of them is in the area of contracting and indeed for more training across the training across the board in all foreign affairs agencies, not just an oversight, but from negotiating initial contracts to managing and overseeing them, and not just for ds, but for other parts
of the state department which would be responsible for managing contract for life support systems and other things we are now contracting out when we undertake missions of this size and scope and complexity. as has been noted, followed in the press in many reports, there have been a number of weaknesses identified in contacting overall and performance, so we believe a great deal more training has to take place in this area, but that calls for resources, and that gets us back to the problem that we have focused in on. another area that we think is important would-be contingency planning in the event that the host government cannot or will not deliver as expected, and are --. in our planning for iraq, we're expecting iraqi's vermont to provide a number of functions
that the u.s. military provided in the past and ds said they will not be undertaking. what happens if the iraqi government cannot or will deliver those services? what is our plan b? >> let me follow up with this question. do you believe all the tasks being transferred from the u.s. law enforcements and security corps ? in other words, are their tasks that ds being asked to undertake that should be performed by non- combat military troops? >> i was pleased to hear assistant secretary boswell testify about some of the things that ds is doing to meet the requirements of this vastly
expanded mission, and i give them all credit for the efforts they are making. however, afsa would like to hear more open discussion about the pros and cons and the implications of the state department taking on security responsibilities for large-scale civilian diplomatic and the feldman missions in conflict zones. ricketts abilities of the host government remained unclear. we think this is in an area that needs have more attention, so we welcome your efforts and those areas, and those in other parts of congress and other organizations to look at this question. we have a related question, what is -- which is not us, and that relates to, what specific tasks that the u.s. military was performing at ds will not be performing? do we now expect the iraqi
government to perform? do we believe that they are willing and able to do so, and if so, on what evidence do we base that belief? that is a question that we have that we would like to see and hear answers to. >> yes. well -- >> the short answer is i do not know, but we are a little bit skeptical and we would like to be reassured. >> yes, well, i hope we do get reassured since. ms. johnson, the state department is operating in extremely complex and dangerous environments, situations where in the past state department would have to evacuate td. what additional steps should ds take to make sure it is well-
positioned to meet current and future training needs for devolving security situations? tworom afsa's press ahead, elements. when the meat gao and your committee has focused on for some time, which is the need more and better strategic planning by the state department as a whole and by its various sub elements, if you want to put it that way. we certainly support that and would like to see it. for that reason, we welcome secretary clinton's the initiative, and we hope now that we have been to the first iteration of that process that will continue to be refined and adjust it and provide a framework for better and more consistent strategic planning as
a whole, freeing its various parts of more into stocks -- synchronize the better. to do all this, at a big part of this is that we need the resources that the people required, and we need more and better training. training looking over the horizon. that means a training flight. when we talk about training and we have policies that put forward training objectives, but if we do not have the personnel are required for a training flight, which would allow us to free up, send people the trading without negatively impacting this vacancy rates of other things you're mentioning and on real needs in the field, a great deal of that training is not happen. the other part of that, and that vision to afloat, is there are training and professional education needs to be tied more
closely to assignment and promotion. there have to be real incentives built in, real requirements built in for people to do training. it comes back to a resource question, and we have talked about the very tight fiscal financial and resource environment that we are in. it is a challenge. >> yes. ms. johnson, gao's report identified the challenges of bouncing security state's diplomatic mission. do you believe progress has been made to achieve this balance >> i think the security mission balance issue is and has been a very important one for afsa, and the issue goes far beyond ds
itself. they are only one party involved in finding this balance. security, and i think they try to lay out what their needs and requirements are. diplomatic leadership needs to address a diplomatic goals and what is or is not achievable under different levels of security constraints. be realistic and open about this. so the qddr has identified a security mission balance as an issue that needs more attention and discussion. we have not yet seen that process to get underway, or if it has, we have not been privy to it. it remains a continuing issue of concern for afsa, and we are not convinced that the right balance has been achieved yet. on, as ds servers
and more conflict zones, state must be able to address the rest of posttraumatic stress disorder and other challenges associated hazardous, high-stress tours of duty. what steps should stay to support ds offices to return from services at the height-risk posts? >> that is a discount -- a difficult question, and i am glad he asked it, and i defer to secretary boswell on some of the things that ds is doing. i know steve is aware of this problem, not just for agents, but for other service personnel serving repeatedly in high- threat posed said. it is not easy to resolve. all our people are exposed to danger.
so far, with the exception of the mandatory outbrief, it depends on the individual. it is up to the individual to voluntarily seek out help, and that means some do, but many do not, for various reasons. in particular, for ds agents, the perceived cost of doing so in seeking out health may be high, such as the suspension or temporary suspension of their credentials, there leave pay, and other things. there may be a number of building in reasons people are reluctant to seek out the help, but the department, as and besser bonds will mention, ds has a support group, and we welcome that and amend it. the department has an active employee counseling service and a contract life care to provide a range of support services for all state department personnel. we are venturing into new
territory here, and i think we are trying to export, together with other elements of our federal government, military, national guard, what is the answer to help can these problems be addressed. >> ms. johnson, families of ds officers employed decoy to dangers locations face stress and hardships associated with having a loved one in harm's way. what should state provide the support the families of officers deployed to high-threat posts? >> all of our people and members exposed to dangerous, and when it comes the department support for families who are very much affected by this, we
believe that all families should have access to the same support. as i mentioned earlier, the department is well aware of this and is trying to grapple with this. i think the fundamental issue right now is to find a way of encouraging more people to voluntarily reach out. there may be some ways that the department could get the resources to proactively reaching out to families as well as employees, at least to offer them counseling or other services that might help them cope with the hardships and dangers and the stresses involved with these kinds of situations. we would favor that, if the department could do that, but we do not have the answer to that. we would like to see and i believe we are working with the
department to come up with effective ways of providing support for people who are under stress from service in high- threat posts. >> ms. johnson, would you like to provide in the final cost on what we have discussed? >> there is one element i have mentioned, i will just off another thought on it, and it has to do with more flexibility for ds to deal with unforeseen circumstances that might arise. i think this is coming from our sense, as we have watched this over the years for our military as well as diplomatic personnel, that when called upon to operate in uncertain, and dangerous, i-risk environment,
july agility and flexibility is essential. we are not clear on what short- term options ds as if a contractor who is providing critical security is not performing. then i suppose the iraq government is plan b. what if that is not forthcoming the military at a depth of resources for emergencies that it to call on, but in this new situation, that might not be there. what is the plan? >> yes. well, these are some of the challenges that we have to work on on this -- and the whole effort here is to try to determine weaknesses that we can strengthen, and hopefully help
our mission. and as has been continually mentioned, so many changes have been coming about, so many things are uncertain said that in our planning and strategic plan in we have to have a b and c plans to deal with possible differences. bmi yes, sir. >> and probably that is one way to move on in continuing to provide the security that our state people need as well. so i appreciate you, ms. johnson, and your work.
the reason why we wanted to hear from you is to hear from those who have had experience in this area and who may see it from a different view and give us a different slant of possible solutions that may help us in providing security our country needs. so i thank you very much for being here and helping us with your valuable information and the forward to continuing to work with you. >> thank you, sir, and we appreciate the opportunity to, as you say, bring a different perspective because our perspective is from where we sit each of us, and we are seeing a different angle on this, and we
think both are valuable to you. certainly we appreciate the work q&a your committee are doing, and your staff. >> thank you very much. i would like to thank you and our other witnesses here. it is clear to me that the diplomatic security bureau has made great progress in meeting the demands of its expanding responsible of these. however, or work remains. many of the concerns and recommendations discussed today depend on making sure resources provided to ds matched the scope of the vital mission. the success of u.s. foreign policy and the lives of the brave men and women who promote it in some of the world's most
dangerous places depends on robust diplomatic security, committed to working with state and stakeholders like afsa to enhance a diplomatic security -- and we hope we can provide some solutions to these uncertainties. the hearing record will be open for two weeks for additional statements or questions of the members. so this hearing is adjourned. >> thank you.
programming. corporations are undermining the original intent of the internet by personalizing intermission to each user. join a book party with an colder -- ann coulter. and sunday, then the hogan writes about the native american experience and responsibility people have to the environment. look for the schedule at booktv.org. >> this fourth of july weekend, c-span3, we will visit the smithsonian museum of natural history to learn about a 19th century expedition to circumnavigate the globe and their treasure, 40 tons of sustenance that became the
foundation of the smithsonian institution. laura bush on her time in the white house, planning her husband house presidential library at her memoir, "spoken from heart." then jfk's relationship with the press. >> democrats are weighing whether they should be in session next week. this after the president said in his news conference congress needs to stay in town and get the budget negotiations begun. he said the comments during this hour-long news conference. >> good morning, everybody. there are still a lot of folks struggling with the recession. people are still looking for a
job that pays more. families are wondering how they deal with a broken refrigerator for a busted transmission or how they are going to finance their and' college educations also the possibilities of layoffs. the struggle of middle-class families were a problem before the recession hit in 2007. they were not treated overnight, and the truth is our challenges are not going to be solved overnight. but there are more steps that we can take right now that would help businesses create jobs here in america. today our administration is trying to take those steps, so we are reviewing government regulations so we can fix any roles in plays that are unnecessary. we're working with the private sector to get small businesses and startups of financing they need to grow and expand. and because of the partnership
we have launched with businesses and community colleges, 500,000 workers will receive the right skills and training for manufacturing jobs in companies all across america. jobs that companies were looking to fill. in addition to the steps that my administration can take on our own, there are also things that congress could do right now that will help create the jobs. right now, congress can send the bill that would make it easier for small entrepreneurs to pass their new products and ideas, because we cannot it other countries in a leg up when it comes to creating new jobs. that is something that congress can do right now. right now congress could sending a bill that puts construction workers back on the job rebuilding roads and bridges, not by having government the everett project, but pride for providing loans to private companies and state and local governments on the basis of
merit. that is pending in congress are now. right now congress can advance a set of trade agreements that would allow more american businesses to sell more of the goods and services to countries in asia and south america, agreements that would support tens of thousands of american jobs while helping those adversely affected by trade. that is pending before congress right now. right now we could give middle- class families of the security of knowing that the tax cut i signed in december will be there for one more year, so there are a number of steps that my administration is taking, but there are also a number of steps that congress could be thinking right now on items that historically have had bipartisan support and would help what more americans back to work. many of these ideas have been tied up in congress for some time, but as i have said, all of them enjoyed bipartisan support and all of them could grow the economy. i urge congress to act on these
ideas now. of course, one of the most important and urgent things we can do for the economy is something that both parties are working on right now, and that is reducing our nation cost of said. over the last few weeks the vice president has been leading negotiations with democrats and republicans on this issue, and they have made progress on narrowing down the differences. as of last week, both parties have identified more than $1 trillion worth of spending cuts already, but everyone also knows that we will need to do more to close the deficit. we cannot get to the $4 trillion in savings that we need by just cutting the 12% of the budget that pays for things like medical research and education funding and food inspectors and the weather service records and we cannot just do it by making seniors pay more for medicare. we are going to need to look at the whole budget, as i said several months ago.
we have got to eliminate waste wherever we find it and make tough decisions about where the priorities, and that means trimming the defense budget while meeting security needs, it means we will have to tackle entitlements, as long as we keep faith with seniors and children with disabilities by maintaining the fundamental security that medicare and medicaid provide, and yes, we are what have to tackle spending in the tax code. there has been a lot of discussion about raising taxes in recent weeks, so i want to be clear about what we are proposing here. i spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary americans, and i want to extend those middle-class tax cuts. the text that i am proposing we get rid of our tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies, manners -- managers, and corporate jet owners. it would be nice if we could
keep every tax break is, but we have got to make some tough choices if we want to reduce our deficit, and if we choose jamaica -- to keep tax breaks for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we have got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. that means we have to stop funding certain grants for medical research. that means that food safety may be compromised. that means that medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. those are the choices we have to make. the bottom line is this -- in the agreements to reduce our deficit is going to take tough decisions and balanced solutions, and before we ask our seniors to pay for more health care, before we cut our
children's education, before we sacrifice our commitment to research and innovation that will create more jobs in the economy, it is only fair to ask and oil company or a corporate jet owners that have done so well to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys. i do not think that is a real radical. i think a majorityi think that f americans agree with that. the good news is, because of the work that has been done, we can bridge our differences. i think that there is a conceptual framework that will allow us to make huge progress on our debt and deficit and do it in a way that does not hurt the economy right here, right now. it is not often that washington sees the scale and urgency of the challenge at hand.
no one wants to see the united states in default. we have got to seize this moment and we have got to seize it soon. we will continue these negotiations with both leaders of both parties in congress for as long as it takes and we will reach a deal that will require the government to live within its means and get this economy moving. with that, i will take your questions. starting off with a best seller, associated press. >> i would like to follow up on the comments that you just made. you keep saying that there needs to be this balanced approach of spending cuts and taxes, but republicans say flatly that they do not want a balanced approach.
the house speaker said not only did they not support that, but that that plant will not pass the house. my question is, will you insist altman to be that a deal has to include the tax increases you just laid out? is that an absolute deadline for you? if so, how can that possibly get through the congress? >> i think that what we have seen in negotiations here in washington is a lot of people saying a lot of things to satisfy their base or get on cable news, but that hopefully leaders at a certain point will rise to the occasion and do the right thing for the american people. that is what i expect to happen this time. call me naive, but my expectation is that leaders are going to leave.
-- lead. i want to be clear about what is at stake. republicans say they want to reduce the deficit. every single observer that is not a politician says that we cannot reduce our deficit in the scale and scope that we need to without having a balanced approach that looks at everything. democrats have to accept some painful spending cuts that will hurt some of our constituencies and we may not like it. we have shown a willingness to do that for the greater good. saying -- look, there are good programs that are nice to have, but we cannot afford them right now. as commander in chief, i have to have difficult conversations with the pentagon saying that there is that here that needs to be trimmed.
bob gates has already done a good job identifying cuts. but there will be more. i promise you that the preference of the pentagon will not be to cut anything. so, we are going to have to look at entitlements. that is always difficult politically. but i am willing to say that we need to see where we can reduce the cost of health care spending. not by shifting costs on to seniors, as proposed by some, but by actually reducing those costs. even if we do that the smart way, that is still tough politics. but it is the right thing to do very if everyone else is willing to take on the sacred cow and do the tough thing for deficit reduction, by think it would be hard for republicans to stand
there and say that the tax breaks for corporate jets are sufficiently important that we are not willing to come to the table to get a deal done. we are so concerned about affecting oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are making money hand over fist, that is the reason we will not come to a deal. i do not think that that is a sustainable position. the truth of the matter is that if you talk to republicans who are not currently in office, like alan simpson from my bipartisan commission, he does not think that that is a sustainable position. pete bemidji cochaired something with alice little and says that he does not think is a sustainable position. but you cannot reduce the deficit to the level and needs to be reduced without having
some revenue in the mix. and it is not com out of the pockets of struggling middle class families. it is coming from folks who are doing extraordinarily well and who are enjoying the lowest tax rate since before i was born. if you are a wealthy sea of -- ceo or hedge fund manager in america right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been since the 1950's. and you can afford it. you can still ride your corporate jet. just pay a little more. to emphasize what we said earlier, if we do not have revenues, it means that there are a bunch of kids out there
not getting scholarships. if we do not have those revenues, the kinds of cuts that would be required might compromise the national weather service. it means that we would not be funding critical medical research. if means that food inspection might be compromised. i have said to the republican leaders, go talk to your constituents and ask them if they are willing to compromise their kids and safety so that some corporate jet owner might continue to get a tax break. i am pretty sure of what the answer would be. so, we will keep having these conversations and my belief is that the republican leadership in congress will hopefully sooner rather than later come to
the conclusion that they need to make the right decisions for the country. that everyone else has been willing to move off of their position and they need to do the same. my expectation is that they will do the responsible thing. choctaw. >> thank you, mr. president. there have been many questions about the constitutional interpretations of a few decisions you have made. do you believe that the war powers act is constitutional? do you believe that the debt limit is constitutional? do you believe that marriage is a civil right? >> and that was a hodgepodge. [laughter] i will appoint you to the supreme court.
i am not a supreme court justice. i will not put on my professor at here. focusing on libya, i want to talk about the substance of libya. there has been noise about process, consultation and so forth. concretely, let's talk about what happened. muammar gaddafi, prior to osama bin laden, was responsible for more american deaths than just about anyone on the planet. he was threatening to massacre his people. as a part of an international coalition under a united nations mandate that is unprecedented, we went in and took out air defense systems so that an international coalition complied a no-fly zone with
humanitarian protection to the people on the ground. i spoke to the american people about what we would do. said that there would be no troops on the ground and that we would not be carrying the lion's share of this operation. as members of nato, we would be supportive of it as it was in our national security interests and it was the right thing to do. we have done exactly what i said that we would do. we have not put any boots on the ground. our allies, who we have historically complain are not willing to carry enough of the load with nato, are willing to carry a big load. as a consequence, we have protected thousands in libya. we have not seen a single u.s. casualties. there is no risk of additional escalation.
this operation is limited in time and scope. i said to the american people -- here is our narrow mission. we have carried it out with an exemplary fashion. throughout this process, we consulted with congress. we have had 10 hearings on that. we have had reams of information on what the operations are. i have had members of congress over to talk about it. so, a lot of this fuss is politics. if you look substantively at what we have done, we have done exactly what we said we would do under a united nations mandate and protect the lives in the process. as a consequence a man who was a state-sponsored terrorist operations against the united states of america is pinned
down and the noose is tightening around him. now, when you look at the history of the war powers resolution, it came up after the vietnam war after which we have had 1 million soldiers there. tens of thousands of lives lost. hundreds of billions of dollars spent. congress said it -- you know what? we do not want something like that happening again. if you are going to start getting us into those kinds of commitments, you have to consult with congress before hand. i think that that kind of consultation is entirely appropriate. why things that our actions in any way violate that resolution? the answer is no. i do not even have to get to the constitutional question. there might be a time, there may be a time in which there was a
serious question as to whether or not the war powers resolution was constitutional. i do not have to get to the question. we have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world. what were the other two? that is a good legal answer. >> [inaudible]
>> let me start by saying that this administration, under my direction, has consistently said that we cannot discriminate as a country and people based on sexual orientation. we have done more in my years here than previous 43 presidents. putting an end to don't ask, don't tell. making sure that gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals. making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples. across the board. hate crimes. we have made this a central principle of this administration. what we have also done is we have said depth the defense of
marriage act is unconstitutional. we have said that we cannot defend the federal government poking its nose into what states are doing in putting their thumb on the scale against same-sex couples. what i have seen happened over the last several years. what happened in new york last week was a good thing, i think. you use all the people of new york having a debate and talking through these issues. it was contentious and emotional and, ultimately, they made the decision to recognize civil marriages. and i think that that is exactly how things should work. i think it is important for us to work through these issues. each community and each state
will be different. in the meantime, we filed briefs before the supreme court that said we think that any discrimination against gays, lesbians, trans genders, is subject to scrutiny. i think the combination of what states are doing and what the courts are doing, the actions we are taking administratively are how the process should work. >> [inaudible] >> shot, i think that what you are saying is a profound recognition on the part of the american people that gays, lesbians, transgendered persons,
brothers, sisters, children, cousins, friends, co-workers, they have got to be treated like every other american. i think that that principle will win out. it will not be perfectly smooth. and it turns out that the president, i have discovered since in this office, cannot dictate precisely how this process moves. but i think that we are moving in a direction of greater equality. and i think that is a good thing. giuliani. >> thank you, mr. president. my question only has two parts. >> thank you. >> do you think the current debate is preventing you from taking precise and balanced action that is needed against
jobs -- for jobs in this country? also, one of the impediments cited regularly by the business community is the regulatory environment. do you think that the mlrb complaint against the boeing is an example of the problems stymying job growth? >> i think it is important to understand that deficit reduction, debt reduction, should be a part of an overall package for job growth in the long term. over the top, it is important in
putting construction workers back to work. we used to have the best roads, bridges, airports. we do not any more. we could put people to work right now and make sure that we are in a good position to win the future as well. i think -- i will get to it -- i think that it is important for us to look at the tax code and figure out other ways to simplify it and build on the work we have already done. saying to small businesses that you do not have to pay for capital gains when you are in startup mode. making sure that sva provides financing to small businesses.
these trade deals are important. right now south korea has a better deal with our trading relationships than we do. let's rebalance that trading relationship. the things that we could be doing right now, deficit and debt reduction should be seen as a part of that overall process. if businesses feel confident that we have our act together in washington, not only is the government going to volt -- avoid default, we will have more expenses on the medicare side with social security. businesses will feel more confident about investing in the united states america. i do not think that they are contradictory. as i have said before, certainly
in my job but congress as well, they have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. one of the things that my administration has talked about it is -- is there in fact a bunch of tangles of regulations out there that are preventing businesses from growing and expanding as quickly as they should? keep in mind that the business community is always complaining about regulations when unemployment is at 3% and they are making record profits. frankly, they won to be able to do whatever they think is going to maximize their profits. i have an obligation to uphold smart regulations to protect our air, water, food.
flying on a plane, you want to make sure that there are regulations in place to make sure that there is safety in air travel. what i have done, and this is unprecedented, by the way -- i have said this to each agency. do not just look at future regulations that we are proposing. let's go backwards to look at regulations on the books and if they do not make sense, let's get rid of them. we have already identified changes that could potentially save billions of dollars for companies over the next several years. you specifically asked about one decision that was made by the national labor relations board. this relates to boeing. essentially finding that they had not followed the law in making the decision to remove that plant.
it is an independent agency that is going before a judge. i do not want to get into the details of the case. i do not know all of the facts. it will be up to a judge to decide. i do know that as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate. they have to follow bill walsh. that is a part of our system. if they are choosing to relocate in the united states, that is a good thing. what defies common sense would be the notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers because labor- management cannot come to a sensible agreement. so, my hope is that even as this thing works its way through, every one steps back for a second and says -- look, if jobs
are being created, let's make sure that we encourage that. we cannot afford to have labour and management fighting all of the time. not at a time when other countries want to sell goods all round the world. obviously, the airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage that i hope we keep. mark [unintelligible] ? >> thank you very much, mr. president. yesterday admiral [unintelligible] testified before congress that he was not clear that there was a procedure to be followed if terrorists were captured alive abroad. the administration has been clear that they do not want to continue to defend terrorists in guantanamo. what message do you have four american men and women in
uniform, like the one to capture and kill bin laden, in the event that they capture someone alive? that forces might be inclined to kill in the field rather than capture them alive, is there intelligence that they could provide? >> my top priority in each and every one of these situations is to make sure that we are apprehending those that would attack the united states. that we are getting all of the intelligence we can out of these individuals consistent with due process. but we tried them and prosecute them in a way that is consistent. frankly, they are going to be different dispositions to the
case depending on the situation. there will be times when article 3 courts are appropriate. we do have a process to work through all of the agencies. department of defense. department of justice. fbi. anyone else involved in these operations. to think through on a case by case basis how this particular individual should be dealt with. i think that when it comes to our men and women in uniform, the instructions are not going to be based on whether or not boyars can sort out how we detain or prosecute them. their mission is to make sure that they apprehend the individual and do so safely with minimum risk to american lives.
that will always be the priority, simply carrying out the mission. that message is sent consistently to our men and women in uniform whenever they carry out these missions. it is important to understand and the american people need to be assured, and the time that we initiate a mission like this, the top priority is making sure that this person is not able to carry out an attack against the united states and we are able to obtain actionable intelligence against those individuals. this matter -- mitigates against the danger you are suggesting. the main goal being to kill these individuals as opposed to potentially capturing them. like, fox. >> thank you, mr. president.
last week the word victory in terms of the overall war in afghanistan was not in your speech. could you define for the 100,000 troops that you have in harm's way victory in the war and for those families as well? >> i did not use victory in my west point speech either. what i said was that we can be successful in our mission. making sure that al qaeda cannot attack the united states to america, our allies, or interests overseas, making sure that we have an afghan government and an afghan people that can provide their own security. we are being successful in those missions. the reason we are being in that position this year, what they
have been able to do is severely cripple al qaeda's capacity. even before the osama bin laden operation we had decimated the operation. they had a great deal of difficulty financing themselves and we are going to keep the pressure on. partly because of the sacrifices made by our men and women in afghanistan. we have made -- an additional 100,000 afghan troops trained as a consequence of this search. that is going to give the idea against more capacity because it is in our interest to make sure that we do not